Shard is home to a collection of monologs, articles and social commentary by EON, child of Time, whose regard of humanity is scathing. It also hosts RANT HQ.

Some Things Last Longer Than Others

From the vaults. 2014. On the pitfalls of survival and durability, care of humanity’s greatest antagonist, EON, son of Time..

When taking a long, hard look at their lives, people don’t like what they see. They often realize that what they stood for wasn’t good enough, that it will one day be processed in the mill of time where atavism is brought now and again to be crushed.

They realize this and freak out.

Take the Romans. Glorious people. They thought they would live forever, and they had good reason to believe it. But they perished. Even though some of their tenets and principles are still alive, guiding modern life, the Romans are gone, along with their lifestyle, their culture and the superfluous elements of their civilization.

Some systems are able to last longer than others. Why?

The reason for this downfall is old age, of which all things suffer. After a certain point the body, any body, any person, group or organization, any dynamic and interactive system, any structure, however robust, gives in to the pressures of time.

Yet some systems are able to last longer than others. Why?

The reason is fitness. The fitter and more exercised a system is, the less prone it is to the wear and tear of time. The more in tune it is with its surroundings, the better it can negotiate them. One may be better off standing out, making noise, while another chooses to hide in the background, avoiding contact. One may seek to dominate the hierarchy to avoid being eaten while the neighbor develops an unlikely symbiotic arrangement with a stranger.

Above all, one has to adapt to the changing circumstances, at will, for as long as it takes.

To do that, one needs to be aware of one’s presence, if not directly, then subliminally, in a manner that responds to any given situation. One has to be responsive to what works, ready to ditch what doesn’t in favor of what does.

Those who’re thinking ‘loyalty,’ worry not: it, too, is a function of successful adaptation. Loyalty works because it’s often beneficial to stick with a choice, a mission, a group, even if the process drags one down the drain. It builds trust, strength, commitment, offering connection and stability down the line.

If things are done properly and the obstacles are overcome, it pays off.

Not only is this a great way to engage one’s environment, it’s the system’s way of expressing its awareness of the macro perspective – what we refer to as the ‘long term’ – where success is ultimately measured.

This is where it gets interesting. The long term is what an individual’s actions amount to, loyalty or no loyalty. The long term is the end goal, the funnel through which the aggregate of all actions passes, the filter through which we’re strained, the platform on which we’re tested. The long term is the bigger picture, composed of millions of individual brushstrokes, some of which shine through, giving the image its luster, the rest providing the framework by which the composition is conveyed. Countless other brushstrokes are buried underneath the visible ones, acting as scaffolding, laying the foundation of the image at hand. Many more are completely erased, painted over until every last hint of them is obliterated because they were nothing more than errors.

Sometimes a picture contains so many errors, it doesn’t work. There’s a point of no return, after which whatever one has been working on has to be discarded, so that a fresh sketch will take its place: a painting conjured through a more confident set of strokes and a more pertinent set of choices.

If the errors outweigh the strokes of genius, people have a problem

When looking at their life choices, people inevitably look at the image of their own being, their very existence and how it comes across to others, how it plays across time. In the process they become aware of both the strokes of genius that define them and the errors that tarnish them. If the errors outweigh the strokes of genius, people have a problem. They either freak out and change, or pretend they didn’t see what they saw, denying it altogether, maybe even rationalizing it and justifying it and excusing it until it makes sense to them.

The same applies to the bigger picture, of which everyone is but a component, a brushstroke, a tessera, a pixel. Sometimes people realize that their lives are part of an image so full of errors, so ignoble and spoiled, it’s likely to be discarded and left to rot. Their personal state of affairs – their own personal image and the way they conduct themselves – is of no real consequence. It may be beautiful or perfect, even flawless, but if the universe to which they belong is flawed, ugly, malfunctioning, atavistic, it defines and contains them, securing them a place in the trash heap of history.

Once again, these people – individuals and civilizations alike – have the choice to remove themselves from that picture, or change it.

Changing a semi-completed picture isn’t easy, and changing the bigger picture is even harder, but some do it, or at least try, to their credit, and all credit to them if their loyalty is warranted and properly placed. Many times, though, it isn’t. They stick with a faulty and broken model, building castles in the sand and monstrosities in the pantheons, a process that leads to their inevitable rejection, ejection and dismantlement from all things memorable.

Bottom line, whatever doesn’t work is either corrected and improved on, thrown away, or used as raw material for the next generation, the next iteration and dynamic.

So take a long and hard look around you and judge your life, your surroundings, the system you belong to, the ideals you represent through the mosaic of your choices. It may very well be perfect, a model that will last a thousand years, a downright classic that vindicates your actions.

Even the Romans, the great civilization that ruled and shaped the West, didn’t make it all the way through

On the other hand, if you’re unlucky, misinformed or impertinent, having set up your life according to convenience and habit, it may be just the opposite. Your model may be an aberration, at best a glossy print for an era’s coffee table; a pretentious and unimaginative concept that fades with time. A poor sketch that sooner or later gets tossed out.

Even the Romans, the great civilization that ruled and shaped the West, didn’t make it all the way through. Their ruins are still around, reminding everyone of how enduring and yet how fleeting a glorious life is. Their ideas still guide the world, in tandem with other great ideas from other inspired people, but that’s where it ends. The frivolous and maladaptive elements of the Roman civilization perished, leaving behind only the ideas of those wise enough to exercise them when possible and enforce them when necessary.

The rest, all the people who looked around and pretended not to understand what was going on, why some things weren’t working and what to do to change them, they perished, and so did everything they represented. The only thing that remains are the atavisms that demolished them, which are still active across the civilizations, urging the majority of today’s people to never mind the signs on the wall, and do as they always did, oblivious to the fact that oblivion awaits them down that road.

Take a look and see for yourselves. Judge for yourselves. Whatever it is you belong to, remember, nothing lasts forever. The ugly and dysfunctional can be beatified and fixed just as readily as the vibrant and functional can degenerate and crumble. Take nothing for granted because nothing will be granted to you. Assess your situation precisely and make your choice wisely. Failure to do so, and the mill of time will right your errors for you, as it always does, and I will be there, turning the wheels, smiling at the sight of life being drawn from your processed remains.

My name is EON, son of Time, and I am here to let you know how things will unfold. Whether you heed my warning or ignore it is up to you.

Dispossessed? Watch this space for more.

From the collection of writIngs EON: THE ANGRY COMING OF AGE