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"Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos!"

The other night I was having dinner with a friend, and she said, "I don't know, maybe we're not worth saving. Maybe things will fall apart and human beings will go extinct. Then the world could heal. Maybe that would be best." Appalled by her nihilism I said, "But you're a doctor!" And she just shrugged.

I've been thinking a lot about that exchange. I think it's symptomatic of a deep weariness in our culture that is the result of what we face every day: all the existential threats, and the evidence of cruel human ignorance, and the soul-grinding stress of living in a capitalist oligarchy. It inculcates a sense of "It's too much, this is just too complicated, there's no solution, fuck it, we give up."

Some people express this through gleeful apocalypticism (I've been one of those), but most are anesthetizing themselves with smart phones, anti-depressants, and long-form TV. It's just easier to feel less.

Does that piss you off? It pisses me off. Punting, giving up, refusing to think about it, claiming "Voting is a waste of time," chanting "The world has never ended before, so why worry about it?"...that's *wrong*. I'm going to make a bold claim: there are things that are right, and things that are wrong. It's not all relative. Considering for a moment the problems we face, then shrugging and going back to scrolling through Instagram while blithely saying "The world will be better off without us," that's WRONG.

We owe it to everyone who is young now, all those infants and children who will grow up to reap the whirlwind we've sowed, and we owe it to everyone who came before us, who suffered and died to get us to where we are now, which, if you haven't noticed, is the cusp of becoming an interstellar civilization (if we don't blow it), we OWE it to them not to give up just because shit's hard.

WE HAVE TO EVOLVE A VISION OF OUR OPTIMAL FUTURE, MAKE A PLAN TO GET THERE, AND THEN PUT IT INTO ACTION.

This is a collective responsibility. Every one of us, every day, should spend some time imagining the world we'd like to live in. In that world, what are our common values? What are they based upon? What does the society that grows from them, like a tree from the soil, look like?

Don't tell me that's utopian or collectivist, that there's no point in imagining such things, because everyone is different, and blah blah blah. That's just more defeatism. USE YOUR GODDESS-GIFTED IMAGINATION TO HELP US FIND A WAY OUT OF THIS MESS. Think about it, write about it, put your ideas out there. If your scheme to save the world is good enough--if it seems like it might actually work--it could attract people. They might get onboard, invest themselves, help you develop your plan. And if enough people join in, it might save us from our nosedive into the abyss.

Even as I type all that, I hear a whisper in my ear: "This will never work. Why are you bothering? Aren't you embarrassed to hear yourself?"

I'm telling that voice FUCK RIGHT OFF, YOU. That is the voice of Resistance, and it's our Enemy. It is the psychic equivalent of entropy in the physical world, and it opposes the creation of meaning, beauty, and complexity. I'll leave it to you to decide its provenance. (Of course, I have an idea, if you're interested.) But I exhort you: DON'T GIVE IN TO IT. Not even when it speaks with the tongue of a charming friend at the dinner table. Especially not then. Listen, but in your heart, make a vow:
WE'RE NOT GOING DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT, YOU FUCK!
If you are haunted, as I am, by the specter of civilizational suicide, here's my suggestion: start actively, intentionally believing that there's a way forward through this profound existential crisis we are suffering. That there is a bright future we can achieve. Don't be discouraged if you can't do it at first. It's fuckin' HARD, yo. But try. Practice believing every day. Be disciplined about it. It'll get easier with repetition. It'll become habit. And then you can be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.  

     

   

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