‘. . . still be asking the hopeless eternal questions’

“To-night, as ages hence, people would say this, or shut their doors on them, turn in bereaved agony from them, or toward them with love saying: ‘That is our star up there, yours and mine;’ steer by them above the clouds or lost at sea, or standing in the spray on the forecastle head, watch them, suddenly, careen; put their faith or lack of it in them; train, in a thousand observatories, feeble telescopes upon them, across whose lenses swam mysterious swarms of stars and clouds of dead dark stars, catastrophes of exploding suns, or giant Antares raging to its end – a smoldering ember yet five hundred times greater than the earth’s sun. And the earth itself still turning on its axis and revolving around that sun, the sun revolving around the luminous wheel of this galaxy, the countless unmeasured jewelled wheel of countless unmeasured galaxies, turning, turning, majestically, into infinity, into eternity, through all of which all life ran on — all this, long after she herself was dead, men would still be reading in the night sky, and as the earth turned through those distant seasons, and they watched the constellations still rising, culminating, setting, to rise again – Aries, Taurus, Gemini, the Crab, Leo, Virgo, the Scales and the Scorpion, Capricorn the Sea-goat and Aquarius the Water Bearer, Pisces, and once more triumphantly, Aries! – would they not, too, still be asking the hopeless eternal questions: to what end? What force drives this sublime celestial machinery?”

— “Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry

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