"I Am Writing Blindly"

What the note from a doomed submariner tells us about a basic human need

Besides the newsworthy revelation of Lieut. Captain Dimitri Kolesnikov's dying message to his wife recovered last week from the husk of the sunken submarine Kursk--that 23 of the 118 crewmen had survived in an isolated chamber for a while, in contradiction to claims by Russian officials that all had perished within minutes of the accident--there was the matter of writing the message in the first place.

In the first place, in the last place, that is what we people do--write messages to one another. We are a narrative species. We exist by storytelling--by relating our situations--and the test of our evolution...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!