Jan 1, 2009

The End is Nigh

A crazy looking man stands on the street corner, his face blank and his shoulders bearing the weight of an awkwardly large sign reading, "THE END IS NIGH". You can picture him in the midst of the black death, and you can picture him on Times Square, that guy is always around. A great deal of fervently religious and politically radical individuals seem to be turned on by the notion that they are living on the brink, that they will experience end of the world as we know it. And you've probably noticed that most of these nuts like to assume that they alone will survive the apocalypse, and the post apocalypse will be heavenly, or at least usher in a golden era of human existence, the surplus of worthless people having died, and the survivors having learned from the mistakes of their doomed civilization.
And I'm sure that for every civilization that ever collapsed there was a guy on the street corner, smugly thinking "I told you so", as he watched the end unfold with all its drama. Yet for every correct doomsday sayer, there are generations who lived out their years with the collapse, the revolution, the cleansing, the apocalypse, the wishfull or dreaded change never coming. That's why I've had an aversion to the growing numbers of people I run into who believe the end is nigh. In my house is a serious collection of books written by counter-cultural thinkers of the 60s and 70s, whether off-the-grid homesteaders or Volkswagen LSD nomads, I think of them all as hippies. I group them together in their failure. The revolution failed, and the presumed collapse of capitalist industrialism never occurred. Every generation is choked full of people who believed civilization is on the brink of collapse, and you'll find that many 'regular' people hold this belief too, it's not a phenomenon limited to the nuts and radicals. My grandfather, as a young soldier, absolutely believed that humanity would not survive World War II. The generation Xers used the 'inevitable' nuclear holocaust as an excuse to drop out of high-school and experiment with mullets and punk music.
I'm not saying our civilization isn't fucked. I'm just saying piss off with the complex doomsday theories and embrace the uncertainty that is truth. The wisest men ever, great sages of the orient, and also the founders of western enlightenment would tell you that imagining the origin or fate of the universe is a waste of your precious time. And there is a contemporary saying that should be our mantra. "I woke up in the morning and got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near. ALright."

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