letter to an alien after reading the wall street journal comment section

Dear Aliens,

In this place called the World there have become many poor people, and by poor, it is meant that they lack things to live, or at least to live properly, and they have begun what are called riots.

I went to a font of great knowledge, called the Wall Street Journal, and there were others gathered around (in the electronic aether) to speak about it, and they said many things of great ignorance.

And so I felt rather upset. The times of riots and poverty portend war, a great calamity, a disease of the mind, that kills millions of innocents without mercy or discrimination.

I went to read the words of another, called Akhmatova, because she lived in a far worse time, and saw riots of her own, and evil rise in the land and crops of corpses grow in the snow. Before her, unbeknownst, lay the Twentieth Century, in which would see her child's father killed and her son in prison, her work banished and her country burned to the ground by its own people and by strangers.

I do not know why reading her words makes me feel better, but there is something about it that seems more true than the horrible stories of history. You see on one side there are many great men, great leaders, great battles, great victories, great ideas, great monuments, great movements, and great themes. On the other side, there is a woman poring over a sentence in her mind and composing it into a rhyme with other sentences. Somehow a poem is more important than all the rest.

Whatever is to come, from the angry, in their hatred and fury, well, I suppose it has come before. There are men who cannot listen, they do not know how or have forgotten it. But to listen, it takes practice. It is an art form, like figure skating or baseball. The curve of a ball, a parabolic arc, as it flies off an ash bat, and sings through the sky, is beautiful. So is the look of someone else's eyes, as you stare into them, and let their words wash over you, like some new flavor you discover in the first time of trying a new dish.

In my mind I have pictured a building, it's structure is of knowledge, slowly gained through careful work, over many years, and at it's pinnacle is wisdom, and at it's bottom are the mad bombers, placing some explosion on a founding column, to bring the whole thing down into pieces. The violence of the heart destroys civilization.

We have known this for a long time. The group of us called the Ancient Greeks wrote about it, and since their time, every human has died and a new group has been born in place, dozens of times, but we forget with each new wave.

So, dearest Alien reader. I would like you to know about us, the humans, and I wish to tell you that we were beautiful, and I hope we still are by the time you get this. And I want to tell you that we tried. We tried.


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