Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods; wars, protests, shootings; every imaginable calamity from the corners of the earth. Inevitably, with my runaway associative mind, I wonder about how the world ends.
(Just so we’re clear: This does not have anything to do with nonexistent Mayan prophecies. Although sometimes I do wonder if something terrible will randomly happen to fall on the important date.)
I’m being bugged again. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling.
There are just so many possibilities. One sufficiently vengeful person gets his hands on some nuclear material. One extremely lucky mutation results in the perfect pandemic virus strain. An unexpected asteroid, massive volcanic outburst, culmination of global warming, chart-toppling quake, or even something science hasn’t discovered yet. I think a little reasonable research and thinking would conclusively show many of these to be astronomically unlikely, but new alarms are raised all too often in the process. And in any case, even with a not-quite-fully-blown-catastrophe, I’m at the bottom of the potential disaster survivors list however one measures it.
Nobody else seems to have these worries. And, fully in itself, I’m not so sure why I’m thinking about this so much. Death is an ending, and I imagine—hope, maybe—I’ve stared it in the face often enough that it’s no longer so personally disturbing. Then I ask myself, do I care so much whether society will live on far into the future, a year, a century, or a million years after I die?
I don’t know.
Nevertheless, having such a thing happen so soon would be rather depressing, but partially that would be my fault. As every other morally concerned story, novel, or movie tells us, we only live once. Carpe diem. Then again, as a teenager the number of faraway opportunities that just can’t be sped up that would be slashed is not comparable to those of the old miser on the hospital bed. And a significant motivation for so much of our lives now is the thoughts of options decades into the future. But to have absolutely no control over these matters, to be entirely at the mercy of the universe’s natural development and of that hypothetical individual who manages to develop a big reset button, to have these feelings of being vulnerable and no methods of action whatsoever to put them into… these are the troubling matters.
Sometimes I wish I were one of the normal masses, whose worst-case scenarios simply involve a terrible report card, who don’t feel the need to examine the larger world and how completely screwed up and vulnerable it is. I wish I could get rid of the dark corners of my mind that insist on probing the possibilities the rest can barely comprehend coherently, like the kid who obsessively picks away at his scabs. Nothing fruitful has ever come of this, unless I count thought for its own sake. But to me, this sort of thought is a defining trait.
Does this post have a conclusion? Why do we need these things anyway? Have I managed to answer any of my questions, put my fears to rest, or even form a sort-of opinion on how I should keep living? I don’t think so; certainly nothing beyond what I’ve already figured out in random stints of pure thinking over so many nights.
Anyway, if only to really lay my thoughts out for myself and kind-of get this stuff off my chest, an incoherent post is better than nothing.