Things are looking dire these days. Like people have taken their cue to lose their collective shits and publicize it. My octogenarian godfather who has lived and seen two world wars and a Cold War often remarks on things he sees "today" as signs of the biblical end of days.
He forgets though that he's been telling me this for over forty years. It's the slowest apocalypse ever. Or is it?
I remind myself when I get wound up over people's ignorance, hatefulness or our society's inequities that poverty, fear, greed, war, depravity all pre-date our current era by millennia. Those things cross all boundaries of space and time and race and nations. We as a species are spread out over the planet and still packed up against one another in cities and civilization. The ebb and flow of progress and entropy is a part of the life we settle into for better or worse. And our feasts are a result of someone's famine. Our peace is bought with someone else's constant state of war. When it feels like our apocalypse is coming it will still pale in comparison to those we overlook everyday.
From the journals of Professor Beauregard Vexer,
"There will be no apocalypse in our time, only apocatastasis as we rise to our society's apotheosis and manifest the next cycle of call and response between the forces of human ambition and complacency.
We will strive with and against one another slowly but steadily tearing at the ties that bind us and when we have no more sinew to stitch us together as a body we will, to a great degree lie flailing and whipping at whom ever is nearby both out of vexation and out of fear.
There will be no significant structure to boost up those that carry great wealth and their pittance to the deprived will not suffice. They too will fall a great distance from their perches.
This will be the apocatastasis; a return to the primordial state. The rise to the exalted state of the highly actualized might be called their apotheosis. If you look for a relatively quick and irrevocable end to the current paradigm you will have to use myopic vision. Someone is always destroying so that they can rebuild, stealing stones from one foundation to build another. There will be no apocalypse. Apocatastasis and apotheosis walk side by side and act so seamlessly in concert that they appear to be one entity. "
Whether it was the Vikings and their Ragnarok or the Aztec and Quetzatcoatl, the Maya and their "mathematically perfect" calendar or early Christians and their book of Revelations many people have for many reasons predicted the end of all things; the world.
The problem is that their personal worlds were always too small and what they actually knew was far too insufficient to predict the end of all things.
Fear is powerful. In our lifetime we can see and hear the very real threats to our everyday existence all around us. Today we have more access to information and knowledge about how the society, our planet, our cosmos works to frighten us into frozen paralysis if we allow it. In the past one hundred years alone we have seen wars and campaigns of extermination beyond what has preceded us. We have lived with the palpable dread of nuclear destruction hanging in the air for over seventy two years. We have lived with the threat of epidemics, climate change, comets and asteroids, terrorist attacks and civil wars of secession, yet in one part of the world we still watch sports and reality TV and go on vacations while others parts of the world sift through rubble daily for the next loved one lost as collateral damage. Some in our world wake up daily to a reality full of hunger and disease that makes up the imagery others recycle into horror films and video games.
One world but several mini-apocalypses. And in the midst of the worst, most dire circumstances imaginable there will be people for whom this life is routine and not truly the end of anything because they know that even if not for themselves life will go on.