Near-term extinction

Things I know for sure. I think. Now.

<Nov. 3/18.>

So. Oprah does this thing in her magazine (or used to; I haven’t picked up one of her magazines for a donkey’s age) called “What I know for sure.”

I’m adding in the “Now” part in this posting of mine, ‘cos I think these times we’re living in are pretty extraordinary.

I expect you’ve noticed.

Some of us have been pretty sure for a while that our species is in its terminal phase. On its last legs.

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Maybe more of us are getting this lately? I suspect so.

I do know I personally surrendered to our species dying quite a long while back now – & also that, as the downward trajectory speeds up, I am struggling to handle it well.

Some days I don’t handle it too well at all! 🙁

But one of the things I do know really well – down to my bones, I guess – is that it’s best – essential, actually – to deal with life

# One.Day.At.A.Time

So that’s what I keep trying to do my best to do. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Here are a few other things I know for sure:

The phrase “balancing act” implies the difficult challenge inherent in maintaining one’s … well, balancing act. Some days are gonna be better days. Easier days. To stay on this side of the loony bin, I mean. Picture a person up on a high wire. Think of the concentration required to not go crashing off! And, hey, this life really is one heck of a balancing act. More so than ever, maybe.

Speaking of loony bins, I think the words “sane” & “crazy” are pretty relative terms.

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?” – Ursula K. LeGuin

“It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.” – J. Krishnamurti

“It is good to realize that falling apart is not such a bad thing. Indeed, it is as essential to evolutionary and psychological transformation as the cracking of outgrown shells.” – Joanna Macy in World as Lover, World as Self – Courage for Global Justice & Ecological Renewal


Centipede season (in my apartment) is over! For this calendar year, anyway, apparently. Now I’m sharing space with an occasional mouse visitor. S/he is smart! As of yet, traps with peanut butter are not working. [Oh dear. There have in fact been recent centipede sightings. Dang it all…]

Pretty sure I am going to go to my grave tired-tired-tired-tired-tired of all the lies/lying/liars/bullshit our lives are rife with. Argh! @(#*%_$)(&^_)$(&^)_#$(^&

“Lies are infinite in number, and the truth so small and singular.” – from The Lacuna, a fascinating novel by Barbara Kingsolver

“We tell lies when we are afraid … afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” – Science-fiction author Tad Williams, quoted in Deep Truth – Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate, by Gregg Braden

“The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)


Oh, & also fatally tired of ego. &, hmmm, okay, also greed & stupidity. Waste. Pollution. Hypocrisy.

& so bummed that we human beings are so easily duped! So easy to manipulate. Lambs to the slaughter. Fodder for the lies & hidden agendas of unscrupulous “leaders” and corporate raider/pillager/rapists. Suckers for all the advertisers / PR gimmicks / marketing ploys to which we are subject from Day 1. Argh. We swallow so damn much Kool-Aid…

And, convinced most of us are as insecure as the day is long. Yes. Even (maybe especially?) those among us who appear so self-assured. Most of us are not just like sheep (we are indeed like sheep!), we’re like ducks. On the surface? Swimming along. Underneath? Paddling like hell.

Full disclosure? The human race has disappointed me grievously. Sigh. So has the existence of so much lying, deception, manipulation, control freakism, selfishness, short-sightedness, idiocy, & even evil behaviour – among the members of our species.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.” – Mohandas Gandhi

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke


On the other hand, look at the list of things that have never disappointed me. Never!

  • Activism

  • Conversation (well, some of them go badly, of course. Even quite badly. I mean conversation, in a general sense. As a phenomenon. I actually think conversation is the WDKE. Whole Darn Karmic Enchilada. More on that here.)

  • Friendship

  • Motherhood / Grandmotherhood

  • Music / singing

  • Nature

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  • Reading / Books / Learning

  • Volunteer work

  • Walking

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Finally, I do think we all need purpose in our lives. I think. I’m pretty sure. Even in the face of potentially maybe soon-to-arrive (i.e., near-term) extinction. Now is likely a pretty good time to stop & not just smell the roses, but ask ourselves, what does it make sense to do now? As most individual human beings with a terminal diagnosis will do. How shall I spend my days … now?

After all, life is, as they say, not a dress rehearsal.

&, as they also say, life is short.

Janet

p.s. One final thing here. I want to add in this tough little truth. I am heartbroken. I admit to this not in order to solicit anyone’s sympathy. I believe it is an entirely reasonable thing to be heartbroken, if not by circumstances in one’s personal life (& let’s face it, we likely all have those), then by the state of the world. We are allowed to feel heartbroken! Grief is a totally reasonable response to what we are seeing & hearing all around us. Grief is normal. Numbness? Not so much though understandable in this very odd “culture” of ours. The Collections posting has quite a few items about grief, including some very helpful resources. I think people are talking about grief more & more, now. & that’s a good thing, in my view.

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A Few Quotations

“I was stunned. I was, and I knew it, an ordinary person who long after he was grown up retained the childhood assumption that the people who largely control our lives are somehow better informed than, and have judgment superior to, the rest of us; that they are more intelligent. Not until Vietnam did I finally realize that some of the most important decisions of all time can be made by men knowing really no more than, and who are not more intelligent than, most of the rest of us. That it was even possible that my own opinions and judgment could be as good as and maybe better than a politician’s who made a decision of profound consequence. Some of that childhood awe and acceptance of authority remained, and while I was sitting … it seemed presumptuous that ordinary Simon Morley should question the judgment of this board. And of the men in Washington who agreed with it. Yet I knew I had to. And was going to.” (from the amazing novel 'Time and Again' by Jack Finney - published in 1970)

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forbears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

** simply gobs more great (& inspiring) quotations in the Quotation Central section of the blog.

Nothing Much To Say…

So.

Although I am a writer by temperament … meaning I’m always either writing something, or wanting to write something (or 5 or 10 or 20 things; yeah…)

& although I’m still scribbling odds & ends pretty regularly, I’m posting very little, ‘cos most of what’s going on

(for me & perhaps many others?)

is a little on the dark & dismal side …you know??


The state of things on our (still-lovely, now so-badly-damaged) planet is … well ...

Pretty bloody sobering.

(Since I drafted this, Hurricane Florence happened. & other sundry scary climate stuff in various places. & a few days ago, tornadoes did major devastation outside Ottawa. Climate impacts are … well, damn sobering. Hmmmm. Did I already mention sobering??)

  • Climate change on steroids (whether or not you “believe in” it, or its being human-caused)

  • Right-wing bozo politicians (some of them as dumb as a bag of hammers, or hell, dumber) running amok at home & abroad &, well, everywhere, seemingly

  • Human lies & corruption & nonsense running at a fever pitch, pretty much, everywhere we turn – seemingly, also.

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Geez … eh??

What can I possibly say that doesn’t just add to the cacophony??

I personally have been writing about & acting to try & change the world for decades (in my earliest days of activism, to “save the planet” – though that lofty, unattainable goal bit the dust quite some years back now)

** & I’m not saying I regret any of these efforts, btw.

I don’t.

A person has gotta do what she’s gotta do … right?

It’s that, at this stage of the game, I’m unable to remain super-passionate about all the things I used to feel so very-very passionate about.

Truth? I think our species is on its last legs.

What a funny expression! We are not centipedes, we humans, after all. & thank goddess for that!

I have almost daily encounters with these ugly brutes (for some reason they appear to be thriving in the apartment building we share with one another), & they are UGGGGGGH-ly. Well, to me, anyway.

Although come to think of it, they have NOT been responsible for over-running a perfectly beautiful & abundant planet, & trashing it to smithereens – so there is that… 🙂



Well. I do kind of go around in circles when I try to figure out what to do (& write) in these so-challenging times.

& I always seem to come back around to this:

The times are insane.

People (many people) seem increasingly insane, off-kilter, angry, obnoxious (admittedly, I must count myself in this; I am no saint, after all; merely human, like all of us). I am breathing the same air, subject to the very same palpable, visceral ramping insanity, & like all of us, have both my good & bad moments, of course…

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So, that being the case

I must just do my best to be a friendly, helpful presence as I make my way about in the world.

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Continue to do things I believe are meaningful & worthwhile (& that seem to make sense).

& also, try to lighten up on others (& myself) as much as possible.


Un-lofty, perhaps

but reasonable

goals, I think


in these challenging, challenging times.


Janet


p.s. & keep on making batches of soup. Ahhhh, soup…. Just made a double batch. 🙂 🙂

p.p.s. & yes, remain ever-grateful for … well … so very many things!

Gratitude is STILL magical!

p.p.p.s. & also, grief is real. These are pretty grief-y times, after all. There are quite a few postings about grief in the Collections posting.

Quote for today:

Hmmmm, well, how’s about this one? It’s an old favourite:

“I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you will do about it. I do not want to know what you hope. I want to know what you will work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle.” ~ Robert Fulghum

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A "Good" Day

The concept of “good day” has changed for me. It’s morphed. Morphing.

These daze, a “good” day is when I get the dishes done before I go to bed … thereby increasing the likelihood that the next day will at least begin on a positive note.

&, hmmmm.

Maybe seeing only one centipede (at a time).

None at all would be even better, of course! … but I apparently live on the Centipede Highway from (or to?) Hell – & have been known to spot MORE THAN ONE (yes, I’m shouting!!) of the #UglyCritters skittering around the bathtub at one time.

For the love of God.

🙁

(but then too, I HAVE learned how to deal with centipedes (you can read up on that here. Though I failed to include there, I now see, the bathtub-dealing method. Which is likely obvious enough not to need any further elaboration, hmmmm? & for the record, even when I keep the plug in, as a means of keeping them from crawling up into the tub, these bloody critters arrive by some other method; some other Centipede Highway. I don’t know where they come from, but they sure seem to like me a lot! Ugh.)

 

Life is becoming increasingly challenging in what feels increasingly like The End Days.

Details not too important, hmmm? I expect we all feel it.

Viscerally.

 

(Unless we are numb, of course. I suppose many of us are numb.

&/or living in The Land of the Very Deluded.)

 

Both the heavy breath of extinction blowing right on our necks

& the increasing challenging-ness (if you will) of these latter days of human civilization (as we so quaintly call it) on Planet Earth.

 

Once upon a time, I used to be a pretty perky Pollyanna person

(Whoa! PPPP; that was me!)

Not so much lately.

 

I repeat: details not important. I’m sure everyone has a sense of what I mean.

 

My 2 new top mantras?

 

Be kind.

(& believe me, this is a constant struggle & discipline. It truly is. It takes effort.)

&

Bloom where you’re planted.

 

Both of which can be interpreted pretty broadly.

 

With different meanings or resonances, depending upon one’s personal circumstances.

 

It’s about the best I can offer up right now (the Collections posting has a selection of mantras from other, past times, if …… well, if one is inclined to dig into all that old stuff. It also contains a collection of postings about grief, which is a not-irrelevant emotion at this time).

 

Janet

Your friendly local loud revolutionary (sort of)

🙂

p.s. of course, the old Kurt Vonnegut advice to observe, as often as humanly possible, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is!” also still applies. (another old posting…)

p.p.s. I suppose the advice of near-term extinction dude, Guy McPherson, to ‘Keep Flossing’ also still applies.

 

Couple semi-relevant quotes that spring to mind…

“He was glad to be out of the wind, though, and eventually the claustrophobia passed and instead with the stars and the water’s constant roar came a sense that everyone on earth was irrelevant, that if the world were emptied of people tomorrow they would not be missed at all, not by bird nor beast, or God up in heaven or the devil down in hell. It took a bit of getting used to, but he was surprised how comforting it was to feel that this was so.” – thoughts of the character George in the novel A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers

“We are grateful for you,” she said. She meant her words of gratitude toward the man standing in the rain, but she also meant that very often the world is cruel, as he must know, and decorating the world does not disguise its cruelty; it simply digs its foundations deeper.” – a character in the novel A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

“The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening.” – Rosa Luxemburg

** lots of great quotations about truth here

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