Being trained to read mythic symbols, i have sometimes erred on the side of caution when it comes to the classic “End is Nigh” predictions. I’ve often felt i was in a similar boat to the IPCC: if we warn people that it’s the end of the world as we know it, we get ignored, for doing crazy talk. Knowing how many times eccentric fundamentalist crackpots have predicted the end of the world makes it hard to join the ranks. But, in an attempt to be true to the times and to assert the sanity of mythic end times warnings in an era when they have finally become realistic, i present to you … How Come Dire Warnings that the End of the World is Nigh are finally to be filed under Current Affairs instead of under the Rantings of Religious Lunatics. Please read on if you think this might be of interest to you, fellow sane person …
The idea that this world is doomed is as old as fundamentalist cults themselves. Basically, a very confused God/dess sets up the world then decides it is just not worth the trouble. Humans turn out to be too evil, usually, as in the Noah’s Ark story, or simply too numerous and noisy, as in the Mesopotamian myth of Babel and its tower. Anyway, send in the Flood, or the Plague, and wipe them out! You can see how an outraged mystic with a vindictive and misanthropic streak could run with such a fantasy – wipe the slate clean, scream the freaks! How satisfying.
But carrying that sign is no longer the job of those disappointed in humanity en masse; it has now become the job of the sane, those who recognise that it is science that offers the signs today, not the entrails of a sacrificed bird or the vagaries of ancient scripture (endlessly open to new misinterpretations, which is why they persist as creeds). Ironically, it is now reason that alerts us to our existential, planetary danger, not mysticism. The true ‘myth’ of our times – the powerful story that carries us along in its wake, even though we know it isn’t rationally true – is unrestrained capitalism, which convinces us it’s OK to keep consuming as if life will continue like this forever.
This is the great reversal of our times: now, the raving lunatics own mass media/propaganda platforms and are accepted as model corporate citizens, as they tout the mantra of the fossil fuel fat cats (keep burning!), big pharma (stay stupidly unhealthy, we’ll cure you!), big tobacco and other drug lords, dealers and purveyors of beer and skittles (or bread and circuses). Meanwhile, those listening to well reasoned arguments, massive amounts of data and incredibly convincing climate modelling, are labelled as freaks, and scapegoated by the powers that be for threatening their profit margins.
That this reversal is itself a tactic of the capitalist lords should be obvious by now. I just wanted to point it out, in case it helps others bothered by the fact they seem to be on the side of lunacy when they are, in fact, on the side of well reasoned argument. We need every ally we can get, and explaining how we are on the right side of history and should not be befuddled by ecocidal disinformation designed to weaken our righteous anger, indignation and activism at the state of the world is just another string needed for the bow and arrows of truth today. Go forth, be alarmed at the direction of the world, and know that you are not a fanatic but a sane citizen of an insane world; because you are also an intelligent being capable of discerning truth and calling bullshit.