A picture of me | ∞

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2022-06-24 09:00:09

What happened to these two men's tribe? No one knows for sure. The most likely explanation is that they were either killed off by a rival tribe, or by ranchers/miners/loggers who had been moving into the area since around the time they were found. Only one man, a linguist who lived in the area, had ever managed to learn any of their language, and what he did learn was not enough to communicate fluently. Aurá would often ramble to himself about something terrible that happened in the past, likely the incident that killed off his tribe. When asked by the linguist where his people went, he would only reply that they were dead.

Try to put yourself in his place for a second. The world that this man knew is gone. He lives now in some kind of strange afterlife, spending most of his time sitting alone in a hut waiting to die. People who lose their job or their business after working there for so many years, or their house with all their possessions in it, or their spouse of fifty years, often say afterwards that it/they was “their whole world.” In some cases we wouldn't argue with them. But even when you lose the most important thing to you, the one thing you spend all your time and effort on, there still exists a world that you are familiar with to some extent. Roads, houses, TV shows, politicians, toothpaste, apple pie, people who speak the same language as you do- all of that remains. For Aurá, most of what remains is the forest itself, though he lives now within walking distance of many modern things which were never part of his world until he was captured, and is too old to live off the land like he used to.

It was only two days ago that I watched the documentary about these men, and I would have wanted to tell people the story even if everything was going great for me, because I find it fascinating, but as it is, I feel more like Aurá than I do the average American citizen- whatever that may mean. I feel, now more than ever, like I am the last of my kind. My social life dissolved over a period of years in my late thirties, to the point where, from October or November of 2020 until a few days after Christmas in 2021, I did not see a single person that I knew. Let me be clear about what I'm saying: I went over a year being entirely solitary, as if I were locked away in a tower by myself. I had, in that time, maybe three conversations on the phone, and exchanged a few words here and there with my neighbors or people I didn't know out in public. Since I wasn't working or otherwise involved in anything, and lived alone, this was entirely possible. People complained a lot about feeling isolated during covid lock-down even when they had room mates and jobs and school and friends and family. Of course when things suddenly change drastically, the difference is noticeable, and can be hard to adjust to. And I believe that what they felt was real; the world is a very isolating and dehumanizing place these days. But I don't know of anyone, save for maybe some of the older homeless people who've all but lost their will to live, and Aurá, who would understand what it feels like to have no one.

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