ANOTHER THOUGHT ABOUT STEVE’S DEATH: A social molecule is a group of co-creators of a private but shared reality — a sort of living group-mythos inexplicable to those outside its specific bounds but real as air to those within. When one of the co-creators dies, he becomes a fixed element of, instead of a player in, the mythos: he belongs to it as memory, and ceases to belong to himself. (We all belong to each other that way already, but death makes this more obvious since the decedent can’t really do anything about it — he hasn’t a voice in the matter any longer.)
Like most reading this, I am not at all looking forward to how this dynamic plays itself out in real time. The only way my desperate naked brain can justify this unending and inevitable torment of gradual loss is that it shows how deeply we love, which although some comfort seems to doom those with big hearts to big pain; the atoms of my various social molecules have — are known for — their bigness of heart. But to refrain from love out of fear is only to swap the pain of loneliness for the pain of belonging, and while loneliness may be final belonging has more laughs. There’s no escaping the pain, but the laughter at least makes it bearable.
And it is something to know that, as the great shadow falls over us all, we will not be alone in our oblivion but wink out single file, a line of curious children holding hands as we dance ourselves into the darkness.
I hope there will be cake.