Populate your mind, in this moment, with precisely the same thoughts which used to appear there, day after day, in recurring fashion, fifteen to thirty years ago.
What is shocking is not that we should occasionally think we’re wasting our time but that we should ever think we aren’t. For in the end what else can be done with time but to waste it? If we’re not wasting it in one way, which our own insistent self-reproach spotlights, we’re wasting it in another which, at least for now, under the spell of some gratifying misperception, we laxly characterize as profitable. Yet in retrospect all of our enthusiasms and all of our devotions are revealed as void or illusionary, while the hopes which upheld our efforts in the prosecution of this or that enterprise are inevitably exposed as vain.
Found by accident, fate, or the direction of providence on the 17th day of the third month of 2017 at the bottom of a drawer as dark as oblivion and published forthwith, or soon afterward, in unaltered form, save for a few small additions unworthy of mention, upon discovery.
I deliver this Christmas oration six days late from a densely populated city on the northern tip of a subtropical island located on the border of two tectonic plates, where, trusted confidante of tremors that uproot and cause displacement without remorse and intimate friend of typhoons that enter and depart in rapid succession as if swept by the agency of some unknown power through an unseen revolving door, I have lived for the last two quarters of this fast evaporating year, improvidently lodged with fatal inquisitiveness at the foot of an active volcano.
Friends, readers, fellow conspirators; critics keen to judge and judges quick to condemn; supporters and disciples who celebrate me, undeservingly, as the unforeseen reillumination of a flame long ago snuffed out; enemies, implacable and unresting, whom my numberless acts of criminal wrongdoing have accumulated over countless lifetimes; birds of the air, beasts of the field, fishes of the sea, insects of the soil; angels of heaven and devils of hell; ghosts and spirits pervading all worlds, beneficent and malign alike; gods and goddesses who, stupefied by the comforts of the higher realm you presently occupy, improvidently forget your fortunes are subject to reversal; beings unknown, creatures unnamed, and deities unacknowledged: I greet and salute you all without discrimination at the beginning of this new year, extending my warmest regards and sincerest best wishes on this third day of the first month of 2012 when the moon is in its waxing phase, the celestial influences or diamones awakened from dormancy by the Quadrantid meteor shower moving my passive hand, stationary just moments before, and prompting me to write these mysterious but true words which you are reading now, words which, before they are written, and before they reach you, enter my mind as if transferred through an unknown conduit from another dimension.
Greetings from Kyoto, where I am currently wandering at large.
Are you experiencing a sudden surge of nostalgia for 2012, the year when the world was supposed to end? Inspired by a constant flood of apocalyptic prognostications, you looked forward to that catastrophic event for 365 days, feeling as if you already had one foot in the void—and then? Nothing. The sun rose.
Another day . . .
Well, here is another opportunity to enjoy the beginning of the year whose end was supposed to be The End, but which disappointed our sensitivity by failing to deliver on its promise:
Though a single reading will no doubt suffice to satisfy the temperate, should you wish to throw aside all restraint and indulge further, never fear: I will soon repost this superannuated New Year’s Address here as well, complete with the absent exordium, in case it be missed.
And there is still more to look forward to in days to come. To what do I allude, you wonder? Somewhat cryptically, I confess, to my 2016 Christmas Oration, which, unless it be even further delayed by unforseen circumstance, will appear before the end of the present month, proving the unsuspected identity of trace and apparition.
Have you mistaken this for the mere website it masquerades as? Look deeper. It is more. It is the place where memory, experience, and anticipation meet; where past, present, and future lose the definition they possess as individual concepts and promiscuously collide.
You have reached this place of chronological coalescence at last.