There were so many of us here -- the unborn are uncountable. I don’t remember when I arrived here. All I know is that this is the waiting room. For some, this place is like the common room in some derelict community center, yellow beige peeling paint, frayed couches, and dust covered TV screens. Screens which show us you -- show us what we’ll someday have. For others it's that vast expanse just before you fall asleep, some moor or shoreline, where the images play across the sky like northern lights.
We spend our time watching your lives, the doings and beings of a world that we hope to enter. Some are resigned, some are impatient. You might wonder if we want people to have more children. If they want to, that’s great. No one particularly wants to be born to someone who doesn’t want them, or doesn’t want to be born at the cost of collapsing infrastructure or overburdened resources -- but we trust that you’ll work out those hitches in time. And enough people want to have children as is. If given time, that will be enough.
So what do we want? We want to live, eventually. We want to experience your fractal world, with its improbable beauty, even with its deep imperfections and inequalities. Personally, I want to experience sunlight dancing on a wood paneled floor, the smell of damp dirt, someone holding me.
The ones who have been here longer tell us that no one remembers what they wanted here. You become someone different when you enter the world. You forget the waiting room. Which is probably for the best, because you forget the fear.
What is left to fear in purgatory? We fear never-becoming-ness. We fear unrealization. There are so many ways that the waiting room might never empty.
From this vantage, we see the nuclear warheads still sleeping in their silos, and those that hold the launch codes not necessarily better or cooler than those who came before, no longer witnesses of the last great demonstration of their gruesome cost.
We see the pipettes in labs as their brewers breed diseases more deadly and contagious than we’ve ever weathered. Those labs in city centers, those cities with their airports and their swarming streets, one broken air vent away from disaster.
We see into the hum and hot dark of a server room as it spins up models which grow more and more adept at their tasks. Will they one day bear something smart enough to overpower us? So many in glass-walled offices in Berkeley or Montreal or London tweaking lines of code which embody something too complex for their own makers to understand.
These among other perils -- a heating, mercurial planet, an unsteady global order.
Then there are other more personal threats. As we wait to find out who we will become we watch the other statistics avidly. How many more pulled from poverty this year? How many more can read or go to school, how many more avoid war or violence? We do not want to be born into hunger or poverty, we do not want to die of some treatable illness, grow up mentally ill or disfigured. We know we do not have to -- some do not.
We watch those among you who fight for us. Who make the world safer, who envision a long and beautiful future, who try to alleviate the suffering around them. We see your work. We wonder if you remember the waiting room, some distant memory like a half-remembered dream. feel some gnawing obligation. Or maybe you refound this path from scratch. Regardless, we root for you. And for the others, we hope they too will come to care for us.
Let us be born and let us be happy. Someone let you out of the waiting room, now it is your turn.