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This week, after learning about a nearby sun, TRAPPIST-1, and its seven planets, three of which might be inhabitable, that is, relatively Earthlike, my poet brain was pulled to a very "what does all this mean" place. I have been reading the only novel the German poet Rilke ever wrote, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, a novel more about the protagonists interiority than anything else. In one part, the protagonist talks about every person carrying within him his own death, like a stone you carry your whole life. This was the link to the Hieronymus Bosch painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, and the delight of this three minute short, an 21st century update of the painting, rendered in animation. According to the studio, the short is about “consumerism, selfishness, escapism, the lure of eroticism, vanity and decadence. All characters are metaphors for our society where loners swarm their digital dream world.” In a strange way, the nihilist moment I was having gave way to something else, perhaps a meaningfulness about the way we live.
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Lindsay Illich is Boston-based writer and professor of writing at Curry College.