I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that one person started the COVID-19 pandemic. As mentioned in this blog before, it shows the extent to which an individual’s actions can ripple throughout the world.
It also is another illustration of just how vulnerable the human population is. Weather, earthquakes and other natural disasters on Earth can take away everything we take for granted in a few moments. Then there is pure human folly, such as the one that led to the current global pandemic. And then there are extraterrestrial dangers, like solar flares, meteorites and asteroids, that could set humankind back a few centuries or annihilate us.
And, yes, there is also the possibility of nuclear war brought about by insane leaders. And the effects of climate change brought about by insane, greedy business owners who are living for today, with little or no thought about people in the future.
I wonder sometimes how different the human race might be if we knew definitively that, for example, we all reincarnate in the future right here on planet Earth, and we’ll have to live in the mess we made in previous lives.
I suspect that many have a “we only live once” attitude, hence “get it while you can” and “sha na na na na, let’s live for today.”
I wish the lyrics to the latter song had been “let’s love for today.”
Death, of course, has been the great foil of mankind since self-realization dawned on the species. It’s on our minds from an early age to the day we die. I truly believe it is why some people become hardened criminals and seemingly have no conscience when they hurt others. They have “a nothing really matters” attitude.
Religion has given hope to many, and kept them on the proverbial straight and narrow — even if they don’t believe in reincarnation but instead see some sort of spiritual continuance in an afterlife. And for those exposed to it who later reject it, at least they have a solid moral code to live by — for the sake of it and the immediate rewards, if not for some grander reward in the hereafter.
Indeed, the fact that there are so many good people on the planet is a triumph of spirit — even if “nothing really matters” in the long run after the planet looks like the surface of Mars.
I do have a sense that mankind is near the end, and that we will see one calamity after another now until modern civilization crumbles. Sure, those reading this post today will probably get to live out their natural lifetimes. Many of us have been living in a golden age since the Second World War. But climate change has given us a glimpse of what’s to come, on top of everything else. The worst is yet to come.
Yes, these are gloomy thoughts — and not surprising from someone who has been editing gloomy copy for decades for a big city newspaper, and heartbreaking copy for the past year. But they are not cynical thoughts. Just realistic.
I have hope, though, thanks to my spirituality. I feel in my heart that the world is a kindergarten for us, and that there are far greater worlds awaiting us, perhaps in other dimensions, and that it is only through experience and development that we can have access to them. But even there, all things must pass — except for the immortal spirit. Of course I don’t know it as fact. But I feel it in my heart, the seat of the spirit, allegedly.
Just a few thoughts on a Saturday during which I can still take electricity and all its blessings for granted. I could never have known any of you without it.
Don’t despair quite yet. Earth is robust and humans are adaptable. The technology to resolve our issues is coming on line. Change may not be easy but it is inevitable.
Periodic catastrophes may be required to move evolution to the next step. This applies to social system as well as biological ones. See “Punctuated Equilibrium.”
Thanks, Fred. Your optimism is encouraging!
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