The Only Thing Worse Than the World Dying

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ABC News put an article out the other day titled “Was Tulsi Gabbard’s nuclear war warning during Democratic debate hyperbole, or all too real?“, which makes a surprisingly reasonable appraisal of just how close we all are to losing everything all at once.

It’s a mainstream media piece, so of course it ends with a couple of think tank denizens claiming that Gabbard’s dire warnings during the debate are hysterical nonsense, but the first half of the article quotes authorities on nuclear disarmament confirming that we may very well be as close to nuclear annihilation as we were at the height of the last cold war.

Gabbard’s claim during the Democratic debate that we are at greater risk of nuclear war than at any time in history is entirely reasonable given the relentless escalations against Russia that this administration has been mounting, and is a perspective shared by experts like leading US-Russia relations authority Stephen Cohen.

In the face of mounting escalations, continuing US military expansionism, and flirtation with the possibility of hot war around the world, the possibility of a nuclear warhead being deployed by either side in the chaos and confusion due to malfunction or miscommunication grows ever greater. The increasingly desperate flailings of a weakening empire could set everything off in an instant. It is entirely possible that, when all is said and done, getting this very real danger into mainstream attention will end up having been Gabbard’s single most important contribution to the American political conversation.

Very few people have actually, deeply considered the very real possibility that we may be on the precipice of watching our entire world die as a result of nuclear war. They have not opted out of this consideration due to facts or scientific data, but solely due to intellectual cowardice. It is so much more comforting to hold onto the narrative that the risk of nuclear armageddon is a distant memory left in the dust of the early 1960s, and that since the fall of the Berlin Wall it has remained only a remote possibility held at bay by mountains of redundant safeguards.

If we somehow avoid nuclear annihilation, the looming threat of climate collapse remains. Taking all the data into consideration, without the overlay of cognitive filters needed to maintain the belief that rugged individualism will save us all, leaves little room for doubt that humanity’s current relationship with its ecosystem is completely unsustainable and will set off a chain of cataclysmic events in the near future if we don’t wildly change our behavior.

We may very well be sitting on the verge of the apocalypse. The end could easily come within a few decades or a few years. With this fact comes a tremendous responsibility.

The only thing worse than this world slipping away forever would be for it to slip away without having been fully seen and appreciated by as many people as possible. If we all spent our time obsessing over our own petty personal dramas with our eyes fixed on glowing screens in between now and when the shit hits the fan. That would be as close a thing to true sacrilege as can happen in the real world. I believe it is our responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to keep it from happening.

By all means, please do keep fighting to wake people up so that we can rise up against the sociopaths who are driving us into disaster. But for the love of all you consider holy please don’t fail to appreciate your time here while you’re doing it. Please don’t fail to take in the beauty and majesty of this remarkable blue planet as often and as much as you possibly can. Because you don’t know how long this will all be here.

Humans have been given the gift of consciousness. As humans we are not only able to absorb and react to sensory input, but also to have a relationship with that information. Our brain creates a stream of thoughts from this sensory information and we observe them. People make the mistake of believing that they are those thoughts, but we’re not, we’re the observer, and in knowing that we have a very powerful tool at our disposal. Once you realize you’re the observer of your thoughts and not the sum of them, then you also realize that you have the ability to change where you place your attention. This might be the only decision you can make outside of the patterns that create your thoughts, but it’s a game changer.

Let the stream of your thoughts babble on in the background like a radio in another room, and put your attention to what’s really here, beyond the labelling mind. How long has it been since you marvelled at the steam rising from your morning coffee? The play of dew on a flower. The sound and feel of gravel crunching under your feet. The thrum of traffic in the distance, the floofy little monster that roams around your house looking for warm keyboards to sit on, the fact you have hands. You have hands! Check that out. How weird are hands?? So much goes unnoticed.

Lift the veil. We spend so much time staring at a screen, and the rest staring at the screen of our mind. By placing your attention on what’s really here in any given moment, you’re developing a relationship with reality. And reality really craves that. She’s been right here this whole time putting on the performance of her life and we’ve been staring at her sightlessly consumed by the drama of our thoughts on our mind-screens. Let her dance for you a little. Let her show off. Ancient civilizations used to sing to the earth convinced that it enjoyed the attention. Pay her some attention, man. She gives you so much.


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