Author Archives

The Wind Sometimes Feels in Error

Sectional view of the Earth, showing central fire and volcanoes, 1665. From Mundus Subterraneous by Athanasius Kircher. (Photo by Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Luke O’Neil | an excerpt from Welcome to Hell World: Dispatches from the American Dystopia | OR Books | forthcoming | 17 minutes (4,698 words)


Just outside the gates of the Hofburg Palace the massive baroque seat of power for the Habsburg kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and in the shadow of the 13th century cathedral the Michaelerskirche with its elaborate series of subterranean crypts there’s an open air museum in the center of the popular Michaelerplatz. Amidst the tourist bustle and high-end retail shopping and cafes with blankets strewn over chair backs and the omnipresent wall-mounted cigarette vending machines the excavation looks like a narrow scar carved into the earth that opens a window into Vindobona which is a Roman military outpost that is believed to be where Marcus Aurelius died in the year 180.

Aurelius’s Meditations were something like the first self-help book albeit one that set the course for Christianity and Western civilization. In short it was a set of guidelines for being a good man written by himself to himself. Everything happens for a reason he’d say. “The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” Sorry but since I’ve been rewatching True Detective season one it’s almost impossible not to hear shit like that in Matthew McConaughey’s voice. Read more…