The world won’t end on the 21st of this year.
I know, I know, you’re all disappointed, not relieved. Or maybe still clinging to the belief that the Mayans were right, and shit is gonna go down hard in nine days.
I’ve been quietly cultivating the theory that our generation wants nothing more than to watch it all burn. Oh god, the tantalizing prospect of the world “ending” is euphoric. Everything the generations we were birthed out of, the generations that have culminated in us, gone.
All predicated on the belief that we can do it better.
If only someone wiped the slate for us. Say, an asteroid, an errant planet, any number of disasters.
Also predicated on the misguided belief that we would definitely survive that shit.
We wouldn’t be the heroes the world wants, but the heroes the world needs.
I could probably frame this, and would have probably framed this had I still been pursuing ‘higher’ education, within the comfortable confines of the Freudian ‘Death Drive’. But I won’t. Well, not right now at least.
Mostly though, at least here in the developed world, those of us who have never faced extreme poverty would be pissing ourselves and crying over lack of a hot shower or easy access to food.
Really, the “end of the world” would reveal what maladjusted, ill-equipped, infantile and infinitely needy babies we all really are. There would be no sweet vigilantism, no great utopia waiting for us on the other side of fallout. There’d just be misery and bullshit.
But we want it anyway because right now, something’s wrong. Actually, a lot of things are, and we want instant gratification, not the slow snail-paced change that seems to be taking forever to take root. After all, we’re just in time to be too late. December 21st, 2012, is our great hope. Maybe, just maybe, this time it will all be real.
With nothing holding us back, we could do better.
Let’s take a stroll back on some of the other ideas that came from “we could do better.”
“Discovering” America, which led to manifest destiny and genocide, and, a few hundred years later, the final death cries of the American Dream, which never really manifested itself. What a legacy “doing it better” leaves behind. And that’s just one obvious example. History is littered with other failures born out of the idea that “we can do it, but better.”
Like remote controls with infinitely more buttons. HD television. Hell, 3D television.
It used to be we’d go into space if we wanted to do better. Develop some life-saving vaccination and eradicate smallpox.
And then we didn’t.
Sure, there are people who, quietly, have been forging onward with these pursuits, but in between reruns of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore, you don’t hear much about them.
(Look, I love HD TV and Jersey Shore, so don’t think I’m knocking all the awesome shit we have.)
The end of civilization at least as we’ve come to understand it, “civilization” that provides comforts, pre-ordained desires and roles, will come. It’s already rolling in. Don’t worry kids, it’ll happen. You just gotta be patient. And I know MTV or Spike TV’s “Manswers” hasn’t really taught you the virtue of that, but you’ll see.
The “end of the world” isn’t going to be a spectacular, dazzling one-off fireworks show. It won’t be a single “whoopsie daisy” on the part of a nuclear warhead operator. It will be us, slowly but surely, eating ourselves alive and then, when we’ve picked our own bones clean, setting into the future and selling out our own grandchildren to satisfy greed that we live daily denying we are party to.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. We are fucked, and it’s a lot worse than we’d like to imagine.
The apocalypse fantasy has been so prevalent and gaining momentum in popular culture – you see it everywhere. Video game franchises. Movies. Books. All this depressing shit that everyone is eating up. What’s funny is that is all a diversion from what is really happening here. The mythos about the collapse of civilization hasn’t come correct. Gas masks and AK47s are a lovely fantasy, as are hippie utopias, but look. That shit isn’t the case. Who owns a fucking gas mask? (Okay I do, but it doesn’t work, it’s a WWI Canadian issue masks so like, that tells you something right there. Also it smells like 50-year-old ass.)
During the Cold War, less than 1% of Americans had bomb shelters, even when the threat of nuclear war seemed extremely real.
What does that tell you?
We are creatures of habit and denial.
And even though we’re watching it all happen, when everything finally exhales it’s last, pitiful breath even as we’re still pillaging and wanting more, we’ll still stand around after scratching our heads.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like that!
We can do better!
If we can, in fact, do better, I suggest we stop sitting around with our thumbs up our asses and actually do something, instead of counting on some fallout to do all the dirty work for us.
We are the reigning champs of passing the buck.
Oh, and you know what else won’t happen this year – just in case you’re on the less depressing train of a “global shift of consciousness” en masse – you’re just as delusional. You’re not gonna listen to some asshole tell you that on the internet because we all have our personal poison of denial in order to make it through the day, and hell, I don’t listen to assholes on the internet, but it’s true. There is no “higher state of consciousness,” there is simply a breaking point where we’re forced to adapt.
Luckily for us, we’re also the reigning champs of adapting, which make us a particular annoyance to like, all other life forms on this planet.
Like many of you, I am a little bummed that, in fact, planet Niburu or whatever the fuck doesn’t exist and won’t knock us out of orbit or whatever was supposed to happen. That there’s no great asteroid heading our way at warp speed. That there is nobody and nothing that will be responsible for our demise other than ourselves.
It sucks, true.
Because that means we are responsible for our actions, and we are only beginning to face the very real, and very, very, frightening consequences.
So here’s hoping that once December 21st passes without incident, except maybe a few misguided people drinking laced kool-aid in bunkers (please don’t, really, don’t, not for this reason at least, it is the worst reason), we can finally start cleaning up the mess we’ve made and been wallowing up until now. There are things worth saving, but we really need to sort out what those are. It’s not a mystery, really. But it will be hard going.
Some asshole on the internet said it best:
“Being a pessimist is great … I’m either always right or pleasantly surprised.”
Here’s raising a glass to a future of being pleasantly surprised.