How do I begin to write about living in a changed world? What do I share? What do I leave out? Why write anything at all?
As I slump back onto the couch, laptop humming against my chest, I stare into the grey world beyond my small apartment window; pondering. It is raining softly. For now.
Awareness of living in an absurd world followed me from childhood: We pushed shopping trolleys full of groceries past people who had no food; we made the ‘less privileged’ do the work we felt too ‘fortunate’ to do, ‘rewarding’ them a pittance; and we called ourselves ‘poor’ and ‘struggling’ while the disenfranchised afforded us the comforts of our spacious homes. All the time avoiding eye contact and thanking God for our consumer ‘blessings’. We invented all the technology after all. Right?
In an absurd world, honest questions were met with open hostility: “Of course the money we donate to the Church feeds the poor!”; “God only gives people what He can trust them with!”; “We obey the law because God made the law!”; “God has enemies too, and they are our enemies!”; “We eat the animals because God gave us dominion over them!”; “Good deeds are not enough! We need to believe!”; “Who created God!? We don’t ask stupid questions nobody knows the answers to!”. Religious ‘freedom’ it’s called. Oh boy, we’re in for a treat…
An absurd world awards one person enough indulgence to develop diabetes, driving a mobility scooter through endless corridors of distraction, while elsewhere a family walks miles for water and a bowl of rice, just to stay alive. In an absurd world I can praise my sanctimonious family and friends for their extravagant wedding ceremony expenses, while blanket-reprimanding a hundred thousand refugee families for the calamities ‘they cause’ due to their ‘lack of foresight’. In an absurd world, I am so far divorced from the delicate interconnected systems of life that sustain me, I can dismiss mass extinction of biodiversity as something ‘someone else did’. And they can fix it too.
But that’s an absurd world for you… We live in a changed world now, however.
A changed world is an absurd world collapsing in on itself.
In my writings I will not be focused on sharing breaking news or ‘evidence’ for climate crisis and the collapse of society as we know it. In November of 2017 I told a few friends that these matters will be headlining mainstream news on every conceivable platform within five years anyway. Two years in, looking at current trends and affairs, it seems we’ll be having these heavy discussions around the water cooler and dinner table a bit sooner. Well, those of us who still eat around a dinner table, anyway. Those of us with a home. Those of us with a table. Those of us with food…
No… In some ways I’ve had it better than many, of course, but my life journey hasn’t been easy, and I imagine things will be getting progressively more difficult for all of us from this point forward. We’ve crossed the border into dangerous uncharted territory and 2020 will indeed be the year of hindsight for an adolescent human race.
No, I will conserve my energy writing about what living in this changed world is like, and how we can find our way in it. Together. Writing will be my mourning and inspiration. I hope you’ll walk with me. I think we can learn from each other.
There is a time in history where the depth and value of human cooperation and relationships will be tested on an unprecedented scale. We have now entered that time and the trials have begun.