Posts tagged ‘apocalypse’...
Oct 7, 2011 @ 2:20 PM
This is not, as fate would have it, a piece about Steve Jobs. That said his recent passing represents a major withdrawal from our world’s creative checking account, and it will be felt more acutely at a time when innovative thinking is in such short supply. I would like to remind the lionizing devotees and participants of creeptastic “iPhone vigils” that this man was far from perfect, but I will join the rest of modern society in lamenting the death of a great mind. That, in itself, is always a tragedy.
This blog turned three months old at the beginning of October, and I was enormously pleased and honored to see that over 1,000 unique visitors from nearly 40 countries have dropped in for a visit during that short span; some for a few seconds, others multiple times. I can’t seem to say “thank you” enough, mostly because I really mean it. To think that my writing has been read on computer screens as far afield as Brazil and Japan is endlessly exciting, especially since I had no idea what the response to this project would be when I set it in motion. I’d go as far to say that I feel a bit like Steve himself, having set down a path with an unknown destination and been completely and pleasantly surprised. Of course a few billion dollars would have been nice, but I’d probably just spend it all on baked goods and premium class air travel.
Repeat visitors to thecryout will have noticed by now that my posts have become increasingly sparse with the passage of time. During my first few weeks as a blogger, I committed to writing three posts a week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday — by 12 midnight. Much to my surprise (I’ve never been adept at keeping a writing schedule), I stuck to this rhythm … for about a month. In an effort to avoid confusion, I will state it again for the record: writing is hard.
This will be my last post for a little while, and I’m writing today to try and explain why. The simple explanation — the honest truth — is that I’ve said everything I need to say right now. I’ve talked about a lot of things, but there have been, I would like to think, some recognizable themes. One of those themes, which has taken the form of a self-evident theory, is that the world is changing fundamentally. I truly believe this, and when I say it I don’t just mean that it’s changing in the normal ways that a world is expected to change over time. My conviction is that, not very long from now, the landscape of our lives will have been altered to an unprecedented degree. What I mean is that everything — or nearly everything — is about to shift.
I’m not even going to touch the word apocalypse, as so many people have while trying to dance around this subject. It’s unfortunate how such an interesting term has now become synonymous with New Age charlatans and crank theories about the “Mayan Doomsday” of 2012. The etymologists among you will do well to recall that the word derives from the Greek apokálypsis and refers not to an end, but to a revelation; the lifting of a veil to uncover some truth concealed underneath.
Provided we remain open to it, I think this truth is what humanity stands to discover not long from now. We will not have the luxury of choosing it — it will choose us. The machines of our society, one by one, have begun to fail, and anybody who denies this fact is either cognitively challenged or simply not paying attention. Individually we all have a history of good and bad choices. Discovering the distinction between the two — and their respective consequences — are basic functions of maturation. The same phenomenon exists at the macro level, but the stakes are higher there, and at some untraceable point in history the balance began to shift toward the negative. Put more simply, our society has made an excess of bad choices, and we will now pay a price that remains to be seen. My rather obvious suspicion is that this new reality will be unpleasant, at least for a while. I think it will come in many forms and affect all of us with varying degrees of severity.
Since I’m really letting the crazy sauce fly in this post, here are some predictions for the coming months and years:
- World economies and markets, operating in a vacuum of creative thinking and altruistic leadership, will further stagnate. Many will fail altogether. Developed nations like the United States and those of the European Union, who have for so long touted themselves as shining examples for the rest of the world, will be humbled by widespread unemployment and fiscal insolvency.
- The shameful theatrics of domestic and international politics will only worsen, until they reach a point where certain governments — namely ours — are rendered immobile. This has already happened. Maybe you know the whereabouts of a jobs bill that some guy who used to be inspiring recently proposed? Yeah, me neither. Maybe you’ve heard about something called a job? Yeah, me neither.
- People will get angrier than they already are, and they will start to protest, riot and generally cause a ruckus. While we in America consume soy lattes and read issues of Marie Claire on elliptical machines, many brave citizens of the Middle East are fighting and dying to defend their basic human rights. They have already accomplished the ouster of several despotic rulers. As different as our circumstances might be (right now, at least), that kind of courage should serve as an example to us all. But it probably won’t.
- Weird weather will persist in dangerous and occasionally entertaining ways. The good citizens of Guadalajara will celebrate their first Navidad blanca this year. Cantaloupe-sized hail will threaten corporate golf tournaments and dream weddings everywhere. As the Earth gets warmer, chronic overheaters like yours truly will be forced to colonize the Arctic.
- Hollywood will continue to produce the worst films we’ve ever seen. The same torpor that has affected the rest of the globe will find a temporary home in the insipid works of “artists” and “writers” who live in Silver Lake bungalows and overuse words like “meta.” On a positive note, sales of Intelligentsia espresso will skyrocket.
- Lindsay Lohan — and probably one of the Olsens — will plummet from the roof of the Château Marmont and join Steve in the Cloud, along with all of your documents, vacation photos and deepest, darkest secrets. When this happens, Zuckerberg will laugh maniacally and then Facebook your mother.
The experiment that is human society has not failed, per se, but it is about to come face to face with its copious limitations; something that most definitely needs to happen. It turns out that the indulgence of unbridled greed, total disregard for the environment and a significant decrease in the frequency and quality of human connections were all, in fact, bad ideas. Unsurprisingly, these things are also not conducive to our longevity as a species. We’ve had our cake, eaten it, too, and it’s led us all right about here.
I fear that if I try to continue writing about all of these subjects, I’ll either go completely mad or just end up saying the same things over and over. There are only so many times you can call John Bo[eh]ner an idiot, or declare in various ways that the world has become so absurd it’s almost reached the point of hilarity. I like to think that we will look back at this era as the Backward Time, or the epoch in which everything was just … off. I also like to think that the world and its societies will self-correct, but the sad truth about human nature is that we resist change until the very last second. We will only shift our behavior and rigid modes of thinking when our backs are up against the proverbial wall. The contention of this post is that the wall is waiting just around the corner, and I hope it won’t be too late for all of us when we do finally get there.
Two outcomes are possible here: I am either right, or I am wrong. In either case, the world will go on. But since this is my blog and I get to say whatever I want, this is what I’m saying. I won’t write again until I feel inspired to do so, and in this flat world of confusion and utter silliness, inspiration has become a rare commodity. If and when things start to get real, I’ll be back, but until then I’m going to take a little break from cryingout and focus on toning my abdominal muscles.
It has been an absolute pleasure ranting to all of you, and I can’t thank you enough for your readership. I’ll see you next week, next month, next year, or maybe never again. As it always has, time will reveal everything in due course, but for now: