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The Voicing of Fear

By Daniel Speyer

How much we have to lose and how little chance we have to keep it

This song speaks of X-risks and S-risks.

It's a big song. It needs to be paired with something personal. It must not be paired with Stopping in the Woods because the harmonies are too similar.

The heart of the song is the middle. The second stanza speaks of all that might be destroyed. It does not speak of specific dangers, only treats the sand beneath our feet as less of a certainty and more of a desperate hope. The third stanza speaks of human values, which could be destroyed by over-optimization even if our lives aren't (a prospect I for one find more frightening).

The ending very deliberately drops the "else" from The Comet King's motto ("Someone must and no one else will"). This is, AFAICT, the actual viewpoint of most X-risk mitigators. MIRI doesn't say "we can do this", only "no one else is trying".

I tried to make it timeless. It should fit a neolithic farmer facing winter or a MIRI researcher facing endgame (whatever that turns out to be). I think it mostly succeeds. The bit about oceans burning isn't very neolithic, but induction without a model is hard, so maybe it is something you have to worry about if you can't get a chemistry textbook.

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Is there some one out there to hear?
The voicing of my endless fear:
that all I love will fade like grass,
before the darkness drawing near.

I beg each season to return,
The wise to teach, the young to learn,
The sand to stay beneath my feet,
That not the towns and oceans burn.

May I survive my wanderlust,
With time for love and for what is just
May I afford a chance to play.
To live more life than what I must.

All hope is silent to me still
I gird my heart and set my skill
'Cause someone must and no one will
'Cause someone must and no one will


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