It was my wife's birthday yesterday (terrible association with the title, but I assure I'm talking about something else) and I got her an Otis Redding Box Set.
We sat down to listen to some of it today, and after we were done and she went to bed and I sat at my computer for the usual insomnia exercise, melancholic thoughts poured in. It's the soul, man.
I caught myself wondering about life and loss in culture. Can you imagine if this man hadn't left us at the age of 26 in that plane crash. What a tremendous loss. His soul unmatched, his writing and performance absolutely unique. What if he was still around? What songs from him have we missed? What new works would we be listening from him today? What have we missed?
And then the opposite. What if Tolkien had died in WWI? Can you imagine the loss to English literature? A world without Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, two of the most influential fantasy books ever written? And so many died in WWI. Who did we lose, some we don't even know we did? What great loss to our world heritage did these great wars represent? Could we have discovered the cure for cancer if X hadn't died in WWII? Could we be telling the most wonderful children stories ever written if Y hadn't been killed by a drunk driver at the age of 12? What if Poe hadn't left us at the age of 40? What if he had lived past 70, when the wise and the advisors are born.
Embarrassing thoughts, but decided to share them anyway. One note though: There's a bias on the text towards western culture that in any way represents my stance. Just no one really wants to read a wall of text for the sake of impartiality.