Some days it’s all just too much, you know?
We’ve got so much information coming at us, and all of it seems to point to looming disaster. It feels like every year the odds get better that I’ll be one of the billions who might be killed by climate change and its effects in my lifetime. The labor action we’ve been seeing in the U.S. is encouraging, but at the same time, corporate/capitalist power seems to be greater than it’s ever been, and perfectly willing to destroy us all in the name of endless growth.
And yet we’re forced to keep pretending that everything’s normal, because that’s what the folks at the top want to believe. We have to keep paying rent, keep paying taxes to governments that refuse to do anything meaningful about the crisis, keep wasting our lives working for the profit of others.
And apparently we have to have war. It’s not enough that we’re destroying the foundations of our own existence, we also have to have bloodthirsty assholes always looking for the next war, apparently delighted that our system seems to depend on an endless market for weapons.
I’d say it’s never-ending, except that it seems to be driving us towards what looks to be a pretty conclusive – and unpleasant – finale. For all we have the material and intellectual resources we need to solve the technical aspects of this crisis, we don’t seem particularly close to resolving the political obstacles. We’re experiencing a convergence of crises, all of which seem to be the result of problems being put off for later. The inherent unsustainability of capitalism, economic and social injustice, the proliferation of horrific weapons, the relentless rise in pollution even in our own bodies, the destruction of ecosystems, the deliberate waste of resources, the warming climate – the list goes on, and on, and on.
But everything’s normal. Everyone has to keep paying someone richer than them for the right to live, to keep wealth and power flowing upwards to the top of this global pyramid scheme we’ve all been forced to join.
Sometimes it all just feels pointless. We’re all condemned, and we’re just going through the motions until the ax falls.
Of course, that feeling in itself is one of the lies we’re told – that all of this is just the forces of nature taking us where they will, rather than the result of deliberate policy, and of wars fought around the world to set us on this path. But the people who benefit the most from a population swamped in despair or apathy just have so much power, and so much willingness to use that power to prevent any change.
Humanity has seen massive political shifts in the past, and that’s cause for hope in itself, but the odds do not seem to be in our favor.
Obviously I’m not giving up, I just wanted to vent a little.
I also wanted to say that I’m not sure what the next couple weeks are going to look like for this blog. It looks like Raksha has reached the point where I have to schedule her death. She’s been a constant part of my life for almost 15 years, and I’m having some trouble coping. I hope you’ll all bear with me.
I think when we’re in the middle of bad times, it’s very easy to feel as though that’s how things will be for ever. Pessimism feels safer, and based on how we’ve been trained to see the world, it often feels more “rational” – If you always expect the worst, all your surprises will be pleasant wants, and all that.
But that’s an illusion that catches us. It’s like deciding to never have a pet, because you will inevitably mourn their passing. It’s like avoiding romance or friendship, because letting people into your life brings the possibility of pain.
It’s a path to never truly enjoying anything, lest the loss of that thing lead to pain. It’s not easy to accept that we’re going to hurt. It’s not easy to accept that we’re going to die, or that those we love will die, or will decide they will no longer be part of our lives.
But that risk is also what opens us up to those experiences that make it all worth it, from watching a puppy bounce through the tall grass, to watching an old dog gallop a couple paces for the joy of it, before returning to her normal slow shuffle.
There may come a time for each of us, when the pain is more than we can bear, but it’s worth remembering that that’s almost never today, and it’s usually not tomorrow either.
And there’s still a lot we can do to make life better for those around us.
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