The Pale King (page 143)
Maybe it’s not metaphysics. Maybe it’s existential. I’m talking of the individual US citizen’s deep fear, the same basic fear that you and I have and that everybody has except nobody ever talks about except existentialists in convoluted French prose. Or Pascal. Our own insignificance and mortality, yours and mine. thething that we all spend all our time not thinking about directly, that we are tiny and at the mercy of large forces and that time is always and that every day we’ve lost one more day that will never come back and our childhoods are over and our adolescence and the vigor of youth and soon our adulthood, that everything we see around us all the time is deraying and passing, it’s all passing away, and so are we, so am I, and given how fast the first forty two years have shot by it’s not going to be long before I too pass away, whoever imagined that there was a more truthful way to put it than «die,’ «pass away», the very sound of it makes me feel the way I feel at dusk on a wintry Sunday—’
And not only that, but evecybody who knows me or even knows I exist will die, and then everybody who knows those people, and might even conceivably have even heard of me will die, and so on, and the gravestones and monuments we spend money to have put in to make it sure we are remembered, these’ll last what—a hundred years? two hundred? – and they’ll crumble. and the grass and insects my decomposition will go to feed will die, and their offspring, or if I am cremated the trees that are nourished by my windblown ash will die or get cut down and decay, and my urn will decay, and before maybe three or four generations it will be like I never existed, not only will I have passed away but it will be like I was never here.
That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we’re all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to even try to imagine, in fact probabl;y thats why the manic US obsession with production, produce, produce, impact the world, contribute, shape things, to help distract us from how little and totally insignificant and temporary we are.