The clock of industrial society is winding haltingly down to midnight. The truth of that statement isn’t difficult to see once you allow yourself to look beyond the heavily powdered and rouged façade of “want to be” and into the unadorned countenance of “what is”.
There are a plethora of Doomsayers of every stripe imploring us to see that unlovely face as the Armageddon and prepare for the penultimate moment. Across the figurative way are the Soothsayers, insisting that everything is fine while they haul buckets of rouge.
Both groups can be unbelievably entertaining to watch, being equally clueless. They resemble nothing so much as travelling snake-oil salesmen, hawking the virtues of one useless paradigm or another.
If you’ll kindly pause breathlessly while I climb up on my soapbox I’ll offer an, err…… anti-climax. Friends and neighbors across the world, there is no need to panic. Nothing, not one thing, unprecedented is happening. We are simply hitting a few pot-holes on the descending side of societal arc. Every previous society has experienced it, as will every one that comes after. It is part of the natural order of our Cosmos.
Latecomers to the show, noticing that the doomsday clock stands at two minutes to midnight, have assumed imminent annihilation is upon us and reacted either with panic or utter denial. What they missed is the context in which that clock operates. It doesn’t tick off minutes and hours, but rather decades and centuries.
As I type this, mainstream media is busily expounding the “horrors” of the federal government shut down this morning. The vast majority of us dealt with this emergency by going about our day normally, which is the correct response. We’ll do the same thing tomorrow, and the day after that. This shutdown is one of those pot-holes I mentioned. Further along on our descent they’ll increase in size and number while the effort needed to cope with them gradually increases.
We may well be far enough along to hit some frighteningly large ones in the short term. They will no doubt be upsetting, none however, will be apocalyptic.
It’s time, passed time in fact, to prepare ourselves and our children to function within a society in decline.