The Mommy, she used to tell him she was sorry. People had been working for so many years to make the world a safe, organized place. Nobody realized how boring it would become. With the whole world property-lined and speed-limited and zoned and taxed and regulated, with everyone tested and registered and addressed and recorded. Nobody had left much room for adventure, except maybe the kind you could buy. On a roller coaster. At a movie. Still, it would always be that kind of faux entertainment. You know the dinosaurs aren't going to eat the kids. The test audiences have outvoted any chance of even a major faux disaster. And because there's no possibility of real disaster, real risk, we're left with no chance for real salvation. Real elation. Real excitement. Joy. Discovery. Invention. The laws that keep us safe, these same laws condemn us to boredom. Without access to true chaos, we'll never have true peace. Unless everything can get worse, it won't get any better. This is all the stuff the Mommy used to tell him. She used to say, "The only frontier you have left is the world of intangibles. Everything else is sewn up too tight." Caged inside too many laws. By intangibles, she meant the Internet, movies, music, stories, art, rumors, computer programs, anything that isn't real. Virtual realities. Make-believe stuff. The culture. The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it's only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think, she said. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. If you can do that, you can change the way people live their lives. And that's the only lasting thing you can create.
We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heros or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe it's our job to invent something better.
. . .
It's creepy, but here we are, the Pilgrims, the crackpots of our time, trying to establish our own alternate reality. To build a world out of rocks and chaos. What it's going to be, I don't know. Even after all that rushing around, where we've ended up is the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. And maybe not knowing isn't the point. Where we're standing right now, in the ruins in the dark, what we build could be anything.