Where Are They Now?
More than [6,600 million] human beings inhabit this Earth of ours: every day . . . 100,000 ['s] of them die and a similar number is born. This colossal drama has gone on for tens of thousands of years: perhaps for hundreds of thousands, of which history retains no record. The endless procession of humanity has come out of the unknown, crossed the lighted stage of human life and disappeared again into the unknown. . . .
Each one of these passing millions was a human being with loves and fears, hopes and dreams like our own. To what goal and what purpose is all this? What has become of this vast procession which has disappeared into the past: where are they now? They have disappeared from the eyes of their successors as though they had never been..... [And we in turn] for a few short years try to weave our own dreams into realities on the same spinning orb. And what strange dreams men have! They know they, too, will die. How, then, do they spend the years vouchsafed to them? Some seek power, and lust after action: these are the soldiers, the statesmen and rulers, the merchants, the pirates, the adventurers and the conquerors. Others seek a hermitage from which to contemplate the world: these are the artists and poets, the writers and philosophers, the musicians and the ascetics.
Of most people it can be said that they live lives caught in a routine, not of their choosing, but from which they cannot escape: that their minds are conditioned by an environment which they have never seriously questioned or supposed could be substantially other than it is.
Of all, it can be said that they are seeking happiness, but fewvery fewknow how to find it, or where to look for it. It is a moving thrilling, fascinating spectacle, full of human tears and human laughter; but has it any meaning? It is strange, desperately strange, and when the thinker has put the last ounce of himself into his thinking to unravel the mystery, he may well feel like
An infant crying in the
And with no language but a cry.