Say there’s this special place somewhere on Earth. Where the inhabitants know ahead of time when they will die. The exact hour, minute. Not only this, they know when Earth itself will end. The universe will end. How’s their way of living going to differ from ours?
I’ll tell you : they would measure time differently.
Like they wouldn’t be counting forward from the past. No first century, second century, twentieth century, et cetera. Instead, they would be counting backward from the end. People saying, What’s the date, the date is X. (X years before the end.) Somebody saying, How old am I? I’m X. (X years before he dies.)
And how’d these people get along, what kind of civilization would they have? I believe they would be good to one another. They would be kind, decent. Not like us! But they would like to laugh, too. Have good times, celebrate. Because, see, they wouldn’t need to wonder about the future. They would know the future from the day of their births, they would be at total peace with it.
Joyce Carol Oates, The Man Who Fought Roland LaStarza.