An astrologer I like to read keeps on being optimistic and dispensing hope. But I’ve been overwhelmed recently by the number of different sources warning the end of the human race is nigh. Even my naturally good-natured and optimistic partner told me he suspects the end of humanity to happen within the next one hundred years unless some drastic changes are made. Global warming, disappearing water, human conflict, the way many humans treat animals, the environment and themselves… it’s all very depressing. And yesterday, I came across sober and convincing warnings of developments in Artificial Intelligence and the very real possibilities of technologies overpowering humans.
I don’t have kids, and I’m probably not going to be around for the worst of it. Yet this failing society depresses me. I don’t wish pain or discomfort on any person or animal and I would certainly prevent it if I could. Yet political action doesn’t seem to diffuse the out-and-out madness I see around me. I agree with Nick in that living one’s own life as compassionately and, I suppose as morally, as possible is the only thing to do and perhaps others learn by example. So I try to look for the good things where I can and not spend too much time with fears and anxieties over things I am powerless to change. Most of the time, I do okay. But yesterday, it got to be too much.
And after the anger, came this huge sadness. Why struggle to understand myself, and by extension what it is to be human, if not because I’m hoping to participate in “progress”? I realize I’ve believed that people have been struggling for centuries to become not only more prosperous, but presumably more caring. I’ve believed people wanted to share that prosperity with children, neighbours and communities. I’ve believed governments were actually working to manage resources more equally. Sure, they haven’t succeeded but at least they were trying. I’ve believed education was trying to help people work out how to exist peaceably with others as well as how to do everything “better”. This morning I feel deluded and spent. I’m looking at the trees out my studio window and apologizing, although that may be a clue. How megalomaniacal is that, apologizing for the actions of millions of people?
As I sift through the information and people I find so easily on the internet, I gravitate towards those whose voices are still hopeful, still urging change while expressing joy in living. And to go back to my astrologer, he’s very firm on free will and the ability of people to choose to behave differently. So maybe the time has not yet come to say “All is lost”.
So how do I make the most of life while remaining clear-eyed about the world and times in which I live?
Big sigh. The birds are still singing and the grass is so green. Time for another cup of tea.