Preservation is a watchword amongst the worrisome intelligentsia of humankind -- great efforts being advocated for the maintenance of the status quo of 'existence' for many different classes of things; biological species, dying languages, fading cultures, abandoned traditions, old buildings, and so on. But preservation in the sense sought amounts to the enforcement of an artificial stagnation. Species inevitably cease to exist within a few hundred generations. If fortunate, they evolve; they do this until they are no longer what they were, or they become extinct from obsolescence. Usually, history records, species go extinct. Indeed, probably more than 99.9% of all macroscopic species which have ever existed in the history of this planet have since gone extinct. (were we to include microscopic species, we'd need more nines after that decimal.)

Compared to this ancient condition, human institutions are petty and paltry, and yet great effort is taken to hang onto them for those few decades more, to try for example to convince children of the requisite ancestry to burden their minds with the learning of ancestral languages no longer spoken in any practical sense. I recall reading once how researchers were lamenting the passing of the last speaker of a certain rare Polynesian tongue, not for the death of the person, but for the death of the language. And this was one tied to an oral tradition; there were no written documents whose meaning would be lost for the absence of a speaker; only the mere fact of the existence of the language itself -- a parochial view given our own ability to look at historical written documents in familiar languages and see that they evolve as well, perhaps faster than life, generating new words and losing old ones with every generation. And more broadly culturally, the evil of assimilation is pressed; people are instructed in the importance of continuing to engage in cultural rituals bereft of ongoing significance. Symbolic battles are fought as well over whether some hundred year old house or wharf or gazebo ought to be deemed worthy of being maintained in just that state in perpetuity. But there is no perpetuity. None of us will realize the immortality which fear of death makes us desire simply by seeking to block the inevitability of change

But it must be confessed that some opponents of preservationism oppose for unreasonable ends as well. The builder would be rid of inconveniently placed species, and equally inconvenient old buildings, with an eye towards erecting something fleetingly profitable. The idea is not to give up on saving this species or this house or the ancestral ghosts of this land simply so something modern and capitalistic can be set down in its place for the time it takes for that model to burn through and spiral out. No, the solution is to just let it all go. Let the old collapse. Build nothing in its place. Stop building, stop 'advancing,' stop reserving, stop preserving, and start living with what is, from what is, for what is.

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