© Chris Courtney Photography
She had grown up in the time of The Evolving. A descendant of The Endurables, but she found herself lost and desperate in the time of The Disposables.
She had spent her life trying to forge her own path. She had a reverence for the long legacy of human history that started with The Eternals – those great people of the origins of philosophy, geometry, astronomy and astrology. She completely revolted against The Everlasting – who had brought religion down on The Eternals and changed the course of history.
The Continuing were an interesting lot, who excavated the remnants of The Eternals and continued their legacy without completely negating all that The Everlastings had brought to bear about the perils of the soul, hell and damnation.
The Continuing were the generation that really started the fabric of society – the ties that bind were the threads that wove the fabric and made everyone accountable to each other. Sure there were hierarchies and statuses, but everyone within a family and community was beholden to the whole and each individual began to matter. There was a cohesion between people in this time of expanding thought, and the only threat to that cohesion was plague.
The Continuing gave rise to The Constants. who gave rise to The Ephemerals (who were merely a backlash against The Constants), who gave rise to The Revolutionaries, who gave rise to the Perpetuals, who gave rise to The Endurables. The Endurables seem to have started the dissent towards The Disposables.
With all the wars of The Endurables, mass migrations, seeming dispersion of wealth, the cohesion of humanity began to fray. Families scattered like seeds that floated on the winds of change and found roots in far off, foreign soil. Relatives lost touch with each other and some family legacies were lost in defections to other tribes. But within the tribes of the dislodged, there was a new cohesion formed not from the bonds of blood, but of the bonds of like mindedness.
Connections among people happened face to face, at social gatherings. The effort to create and engage in society was considerable – the cost, depending upon status, was significant - so no one took any connections made in these circumstances for granted. Without familial bonds, social connections were coveted and cultivated through correspondences and mutual networks. No one could merely disappear – at least not without some effort.
The Evolving, born to The Endurables, grew up without the deep roots of Perpetuals and so thought little if nothing of the fraying fabric. What did community or correspondences matter when there were endless parades of people to meet and lose contact with? With phones, there was no need for letters, and without letters there were no records to keep track of. People came and went without a fuss. In the time of The Evolving, even like mindedness became porous along with the communities of people that were bound by it. And people started to disappear without notice.
No one really fretted about the disappearing. What did it matter in the face of freedom and pace and reinvention? Except that people were starting to disappear not of their own accord. The Disposables began throwing people away. If you didn’t agree with someone from your tribe, you could discard them without remorse because dissent reined acid and eroded the bonds of friendship and connection.
What difference did it make? People were meeting across data lines not at social gatherings, and if a relationship was formed randomly, it could just as easily be dissolved randomly. What did it matter if you spent days on end texting one week and then the next week pretended that person never existed at all? It’s not like you would ever run into that person again in your daily life.
The reason for the digital transaction was to connect beyond boundaries of class, culture, community and family – and while that removed almost every barrier known to man, it also gave rise to The Discarded; the ones who could be thrown away without a thought or a care and never, ever heard from again.
Any flaw could result in complete banishment. Any mistake could result in exile, and no responsibility need ever be taken. There was no recourse. There was no community to turn to. No mutual friends to intervene or mediate during times of duress between seeming friends. There was just a severing of all ties or blocking of all communications. And with that too, the art of working through strife and disagreement was also lost. Why persevere? Why try to work anything out? If something went wrong, discard and start over. There were always plenty more Disposables where The Discarded came from.
She had always known she was disposable from the beginning, but when it happened, she had not expected the desolation. It was cruel and perfectly inhuman. And at her core she knew that if disposable, discarded things were destroying our oceans and landscapes, that disposable souls would corrupt humanity. She knew that it is only due to being beholden to one another that humanity exists at all, and The Disposables wouldn’t realise this until it was too late and everyone became The Discarded.