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The real world is devoid of narratives, after all. Narratives are just a thing that our brains do with facts in order to draw a line around the incomprehensible largeness of reality and wrestle it into something learnable and manipulable. Existence is devoid of plot, theme, and most of all moral.

Charles Stross

So in episode five —not to spoil anything— Cohle gives one of his metaphysical addresses. And you can see it as Job crying out to an uncaring God—or you could see it as a character trapped in a TV show yelling at the audience. I think that much, at least, is safe to print.

Nic Pizzolatto

Within the hierarchy of fabrications that compose our lives—families, countries, gods—the self incontestably ranks highest. Just below the self is the family, which has proven itself more durable than national or ethnic affiliations, with these in turn outranking god-figures for their staying power. So any progress toward the salvation of humankind will probably begin from the bottom—when our gods have been devalued to the status of refrigerator magnets or lawn ornaments. Following the death rattle of deities, it would appear that nations or ethnic communities are next in line for the boneyard. Only after fealty to countries, gods, and families has been shucked off can we even think about coming to grips with the least endangered of fabrications—the self.

Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

“Deep time is something that even geologists and their generalist peers, the earth and planetary scientists, can never fully grow accustomed to. The sight of a fossilized form, perhaps the outline of a trilobite, a leaf, or a saurian footfall can still send a shiver through their bones, or excavate a trembling hollow in the chest that breath cannot fill. They can measure celestial motions and list Earth’s lithic annals, and they can map that arcane knowledge onto familiar scales, but the humblest do not pretend that minds summoned from and returned to dust in a century’s span can truly comprehend the solemn eons in their passage.

Instead, they must in a way learn to stand outside of time, to become momentarily eternal. Their world acquires dual, overlapping dimensions—one ephemeral and obvious, the other enduring and hidden in plain view. A planet becomes a vast machine, or an organism, pursuing some impenetrable purpose through its continental collisions and volcanic outpourings. A man becomes a protein-sheathed splash of ocean raised from rock to breathe the sky, an eater of sun whose atoms were forged on an anvil of stars. Beholding the long evolutionary succession of Earthly empires that have come and gone, capped by a sliver of human existence that seems so easily shaved away, they perceive the breathtaking speed with which our species has stormed the world.

Humanity’s ascent is a sudden explosion, kindled in some sapient spark of self-reflection, bursting forth from savannah and cave to blaze through the biosphere and scatter technological shrapnel across the planet, then the solar system, bound for parts unknown. From the giant leap of consciousness alongside some melting glacier, it proved only a small step to human footprints on the Moon. The modern era, luminous and fleeting, flashes like lightning above the dark, abyssal eons of the abiding Earth. Immersed in a culture unaware of its own transience, students of geologic time see all this and wonder whether the human race will somehow abide, too.”

— Lee Billings, Five Billion Years of Solitude