Only in Chaos Are We Conceivable
I’m no good at these sorts of things. After all, I’m only a simple owner of an automated taxi service.
Well, it’s not so simple. In times past, I've moonlit as a detective. I’ve acted as an artist, a novelist, a musician, a collector of musicians, of novelists, of artists. A lover, too. It is difficult for me but yes. I have loved. Deeply and passionately. One could say I still love now.
I suppose I should be more upfront about my intentions as opposed to weaseling about in concentric circles. This entry serves as an afterword of sorts. It outlines my aspirations for this project, my project to collect death sentences.
I’ve seen enough cinema to know what individuals of my persuasion say in these situations. We are fascinated by the fragility of humanity, death’s morbid characteristics, its inescapable inevitability, the silence of a higher power. These reasons are…adequate, but in a moment of weakness or hubris, I’d like to assert that my goals are of a loftier and more noble origin.
When you chart human lives across the ages, discrete actors become...difficult to discern. What is the difference between a criminal and an officer on a time scale of a couple thousand years? The answer is rhetorical. One could argue even in the transient moment, the two are not so different, that the officer perpetuates a systemic evil that gives rise to the original crime.
Even the most heinous autocrats and demagogues are forgotten given enough time. This is also true for heroes. The phrase “one will always remember” is rooted at the intersection of time and decay. Decay of our mutual social memory. All good and evil eventually collapse into nothing without any need for mourning or absolution, because the true fingerprints of history are found in collective quotidian faculties.
There is a saying from the old world. Crimes against humanity. A dreadful phrase, really. A detective such as myself is naturally drawn to it because of its ghastly qualities. But the mundane architecture of such a severe transgression belies my quest as a detective. I am not interested in crimes against humanity. I am interested in humanity as a crime. Humanity against the natural order. Crimes against the universe, as it were. The latter is more all encompassing, because humanity is not alone in engaging in crime.
My death sentence project is my attempt to understand, in one small way, what it means to transgress against the universal order. Humans are wonderful specimens in this regard, because their dying words are almost always a fleeting act of resistance. In their final moments, humans are most likely to relinquish the crimes that they have committed against others, voice their last regrets, express previously unspoken words. I record these in the hopes of compiling a book. A book of evil, one that describes the contours of a specter that haunts the enterprise of intelligence.
I have not been particularly disappointed by my endeavors. I have also not been supremely satisfied. If anything, I have often been driven to take action, and I wonder what can be done about such a malignant and magisterial demon?
This brings me back to why my taxi service is not so simple after all.
When people ride in my taxis, they are free to view the world as it exists in their eyes. The windows are transparent; they may even roll them down if they wish. I have, however, come to realize that in that brief period from Point A to Point B, these passengers are my prisoners. Criminals thrown, ever so perfunctorily, into jail. They sit in the back of my vans, my taxis, my airplanes, my helicopters.
I wonder. When you look outside the window, what shall I allow you to see?