Saturday, July 13, 2013

Faith that the End is Near

In today's G&M, Jared Bland writes from a perspective I've been taking lately as well.
"Despite seeming reasonable in other areas of my life, I believe that we are quite likely living in or near the fabled end times....[I]t's becoming easier and easier to feel that the shadow hanging over us isn't just another massive rain cloud.  That it's something bigger, something worse.  And that it's moving in awfully quickly.....I'm convinced that things would be a lot better, were we to start to expect the end.  We fear it, we suspect it, but we need to embrace it....What if, instead of responding to disaster with kindness and support, we were just kind and supportive?   What if this were how we lived?.... [Living as if the end is nigh] allows us to think and feel and act in ways we otherwise might deny ourselves.  It encourages us to be more direct, more honest, more loving.  It says, in fact, that we must."

He also suggests the final days will likely be closer to The Road than This is The End - unfortunate because the latter is funnier by leagues (really - go see it!).    I imagine it'll be a lot like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - also a must see.

But Bland's optimistic  - not that something will rush in and save us all at the last second, but that we'll help each other right to the end.  He sites studies that suggest disasters bring out the best in us clearly seen with a plethora of altruistic stories from Toronto and Calgary.

So maybe a having faith that the end is near can make us better people.  And, if the end isn't near, then hey! We're better people!  Awesome!

I think we need to prepare for the end, but for survival as a species, not as individuals.  It's not about fortifying our homes and hoarding food, water, and munitions as "preppers" do.  

It's about thinking about what you really need in life to survive.  And if you go back to the greatest hits of the pre-Gregorian calendar millennia, over and over people said we need to live a life of simple pleasures.  Basic food and friends - Epicurus liked to sit down with his buddies to a feast of gruel, but I think we can manage a bit better without destroying our integrity.

Maybe deciding it's end times is what we need to learn to let go of attachment to things.  You can't take them with you, and they'll end up being a burden if you're stuck in one of those long "Road" type walks.  Along with the stuff, we need to let go of our craving for status - through being impressive at something or having the best stuff.  If the species is going down for the count, then burying a copy of your latest novelette entombed in plastic in your backyard isn't going to get you a shot at immortality.  Nothing will if it's all gone.  Take comfort that Plato's writing will all be gone too.  If the infrastructure goes, then water will soon destroy the libraries.  And it's just a matter of time before the junk in Earth's orbit destroys the satellites, then your computer won't work and everything in clouds will be gone too.   The easiest route is for us to relax and just let go of our attachment to it all.

Really, it means accepting our own mortality - that's what it all boils down to - collectively.

BUT, we're still here now, and we still need to play and entertain each other.   That's imperative.  Remember that episode of Lost where everyone was getting squirrely, then Hurley saved the day by making a golf course?  Play isn't a luxury; it's absolutely necessary especially in difficult times.

So definitely write that book, and publish it yourself if need be, and get it out there.   And go out with friends to see movies and concerts.  And teach your kids how to play euchre, and enjoy the day.  We're not dead yet!

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