Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 357 of 365: Always on the Brink

It's not exactly an easy time in the world. The body count in the Israeli/Gaza attacks keep creeping up, Russia is making us all invoke Gowdin's Law... and then there's the ongoing issues, like the bloody civil war in Syria, the frightening anti-semitism in countries like Greece (and Russia...geez...)... Combine that with the precarious position that every other first world nation is in (including America), and it's easy to think we're on the brink.

And, hell, maybe we are. Maybe we're about to see what the global version of post-empire Rome looks like. Or maybe we've been "on the brink" for centuries now.

Today marks the 100-year anniversary of the start of WW1. I wonder how many people growing up in the early 1900s saw what was happening in WW1, and then WW2, and felt that the world was on the brink of collapse. I wonder how many people who are part of the Baby Boomer generation looked at the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis and Watergate and felt that the world was about to collapse in on itself.

You can honestly go back to every single religion from any single region on Earth: there is always some prophesy about the world ending, and it always is prophesied to end within those particular people's lifetimes. Maybe it's evolutionary, maybe it's built into our DNA for a reason, but, either way, feeling like things are about to end is part and parcel of the human experience.

And maybe it's for the best: I mean, this is finite. Our lives our finite, this planet is finite -- shit, this universe is finite. And pretending it will last forever even in the abstract is an exercise in despair (and I swear this isn't me trying to get all nihilistic. From a biological standpoint, this shit gun end). Worrying that things are going to end forces us to appreciate the now. I know after, say, reading an article on peak oil, I can't help but feel incredibly appreciative that -- at least for now -- I can just drive around in my car.

Only time will tell what happens with us. Maybe Russia starts WW3. Maybe the conflict in the Middle East boils over into the rest of the world. Maybe the sun goes supernova tomorrow and we're all good and cooked. Who knows.

All I know is that you have to appreciate today for exactly what it is, even if part of that day involves watching the news and shaking your head.

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