I write this article with a heavy heart. Had you asked me 3, 6, or even 12 months ago what I would be doing right now, I would have told you something survival related – dodging falling trees, swimming upstream, staring into oncoming wind – that sort of thing. The last thing I would have said would be blogging on a futon in my underwear.
Don’t get me wrong, I love everyone who takes time out of their day to read this, I really do. But I can’t say I’m not disappointed that the world as we know it is still here. Here’s why you should feel the same way.
1. The world is shit.
The older I get, the more aware of the rampant inequalities and fuck-ups there are. In fact, they’re inescapable. Just look at the forces that govern our lives nowadays: government, technology, media, corporations. The usual suspects. I won’t turn this into a rant on those subjects, but rather I challenge you to ask yourself if you could change anything about those institutions, could you think of anything to change? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Whether that means changing the duopoly of the government or the general exclusionary practices weathered by those with moderate to low incomes, or requiring corporations to operate by the same laws as us regular folk (where’s the student loan bailout?), you can certainly think of some examples of how you’re getting the raw end of the stick. To be sure, people will almost always feel differently about these things, and I’m not proposing that we share a uniform set of values, but at the very least we can agree to go about our differences with more humanity and cordiality than we currently exhibit. I digress (sorry, it’s tough not to follow a tangent).
The point is, we could use a reset as a species. Right now, we’re far too entrenched in our current system to ever be uprooted. We can’t pull out the cartridge and blow into it and start again (Nintendo reference, sorry). We’re stuck in a system that has built-in mechanisms to prevent change (IE people with power unwilling to capitulate any of it), and most of us are simply treading water in it. Staying afloat. I want us to get out of the water altogether, and I was hoping that a gamma burst from the sun would have helped us out.
2. The world is beautiful.
Been outside lately? Pretty fuckin awesome, right? Better yet, been inside lately? For better or for worse, still pretty awesome. Compare our daily lives with that of people throughout history, and we got it pretty good. We’ve wrenched a great deal of control out of nature’s hands with technology, and have made life pretty comfortable for ourselves overall. So comfortable, in fact, that we overlook how amazing the world around us is.
Our accessibility to other people, places and cultures is unparalleled. My grandma used to tell me how she would take a 30 day steamboat ride from her boarding school in northern China down to the southern provinces during her summer breaks. 30 days! By plane, that same travel route is easily less than a day now. Imagine X-ing out an entire month just to get somewhere. I can’t even wait 10 minutes for facebook to load up.
Point is, the world is yours (what up, Nas). We live in a period of unique opportunities to experience the rest of the world and get involved on a macro scale in ways that were previously unfeasible. Utilize it. By all means, enjoy the pleasures of leisurely strolls through the internet (especially on this blog), but don’t forego real life for Xbox Live. A nice EMP blast to force us into interaction and critical problem solving would be a welcome change from the sedation of technology and isolation.
3. Humans are awesome.
We just need to be reminded of it. Our national focus is often the most unflattering reflections of ourselves. Our sense of “the other” beats the shit out of our sense of self. It’s not that we are traffic, we’re in it, right? As a result, we prefer to see the bad and the ugly instead of the good. And why not? The Sandy Hook shooter was a monster, not another person. To avoid any misled conclusions, I’m not denying the monstrosity of the event (as a former second grade teacher, it’s possibly the most revolting news I’ve heard in my lifetime), but stopping at the recognition of its evil is moral laziness. All I’m trying to say is that we’re more than the sum of our worst traits and behaviors. We’re better than that. I’d like to think that the best of humanity comes out in the worst circumstances. Perhaps a global apocalypse is just what we need.
Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that the world is not coming to an end any time soon. Let’s make the most of it.
**For more perspective on this matter, and anecdotal evidence that the apocalypse indeed occurred, check out this post:
“Are zombies even the least bit self-aware? Science tells us that zombies tend to see themselves as normal, living beings, and the reason they attack the living is because they appear to them as the undead.”