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Essential Journal

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ISSUE 61 – The Legacies Issue

A Note From the Editor

‘They say you really die the last time anybody says your name.’

– The Lawrence Arms

Hang around the same semantic field for any length of time and a sense of exhaustion is sure to creep in. I should know; I’ve waded hip-deep in ‘heritage,’ ‘tradition,’ and ‘time-honoured craft’ for as long as I can remember. I’ve proffered, tendered, and bandied such words with reckless, almost arrogant abandon – to the point where I forget their exact meaning, their exact weight, and measure. Semantic satiation, they call it.

You can’t blame me; they’re beautiful words, rich with the rose-tinted safety of nostalgia and the saccharinity of the backward glance. Sustainability, on the other hand, is a far uglier word for the simple fact that it’s laden with all the weight and dread and doom of time itself. It speaks to a different form of exhaustion: the exhaustion of our own, forward march. 

It’s a ceaseless thing, that chase. Our minds race with the fevered visions of our myriad longings, blind to the wealth of material we’ve already amassed. It’s a sad story, millennia-long in its retelling and tired in its infinite repetition.

How nice it would be, then, if we reflected instead on other things. If we were more concerned with leaving the world that little bit nicer than the way we found it. If we stopped trying to get somewhere using other people’s unset, unformed futures as both fuel and collateral. If we stopped holding our potential happiness to ransom, convinced that happiness will come with the next milestone met or object acquired. How nice it would be if we focused instead on the things of value we’d like to leave behind.

This issue is dedicated to lessons learned and legacies left.