End of the World

Caroline (possibly in the grip of a toxic-work-environment funk) emails: “Would you think me mad if I suggested that I think it is possible this is the end of the world?”

I tend to agree, with provisos. Not the end of the world, which will continue on as though nothing happened, or even of life, which seems to be remarkably tenacious. Even humankind will survive in some way, probably much reduced in circumstance. I’ve said several times in the past while that we may well be living at the all-time apex of human civilization. In other words, it’s downhill from here.

Several scientists — those cold-bloodedly objective appraisers of reality-as-it-is (ha-ha, i’m being ironic) — seem to agree. No less than James Lovelock, of Gaia hypothesis fame, predicts in this broadcast from CBC Ideas‘ excellent “How to Think About Science” series, that less that 80% of humanity will survive the end of THIS century. That’s sobering, but part of me says “Good, we’re not fit to inherit the earth just yet.”

In less dark moments, though, i think our present state of crisis is exactly what we need to smarten us up en masse. I’m certainly not going to give up trying, in my own small way. To the contrary, strangely: I am energized: recycling, living small and local and carbon-reduced, minimizing my monetary impact, moving toward an alternate, less destructive mode of being, etc. That at least is good for my soul, and maybe that’s all we can ultimately do. “We all want to change the world,” says the Beatles’ song Revolution, but really the most we can do (counter the sages) is change ourselves. On with it!

Yours in grim, chuckling hope,

~Greg

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