Thursday, September 24, 2015
I was talking to a friend of a friend today, who is one of those people who is very fearful about the future.
She believes strongly that the world is going to hell in a handbasket — that corporations are out to get us, the water is poisoned, nothing good is ever going to happen again.
(In her defense, she’d just come back from western Pennsylvania, where the water is in fact being poisoned, and even if they wanted to, corporations can’t care about anything other than shareholder value. So it’s hard to say that she’s too far off.)
She is worried about the future. She feels like the end is near.
I was in her shop with my friend Ann. I said, “You know, it’s funny. We were just talking about this at lunch.”
Because we were, we’d been talking about this very thing.
I said, “In all of the post-apocalyptic movies and novels, some terrible thing happens and people turn on each other, everything completely falls apart, it’s dog-eat-dog, every man for himself.”
“But in the real world when crisis hits, people come together, they work together and help each other. World War II, the Great Depression, 9/11. All of those brought Americans together.”
Our friend looked at me skeptically. This was not what she wanted to talk about, people coming together to help each other.
But really, we’ve created this world where everything is so easy, we have so much more leisure time than we used to. But what do we do with it? We consume media — we watch tv and movies and play video games.
No one does anything anymore. They watch other people do things.
People are so addicted to passive entertainment that people actually WATCH OTHER PEOPLE PLAY VIDEO GAMES. (I am not making this up. This is a huge thing on YouTube. Ask your nearest 8-year-old about Minecraft and he’ll be happy to show you.)
This is what we’ve done with our abundant free time.
And people are bored and unhappy and dissatisfied. They feel unfulfilled because contemporary American life is inherently unfulfilling.
Geez louise people, if that’s not a dystopia, I don’t know what is.
I feel like if all of this went away — Instagram and iPhones and movies and television and Minecraft videos on YouTube — it would be really hard. Really really hard.
For like 3 weeks.
And then everyone would be like okay let’s go play frisbee.
(And yes, I know in an actual apocalypse, with dead bodies everywhere and no running water and such, things would be very chaotic. But people lived for many many many many years without electricity, and I have complete faith in man’s ingenuity, that in the event of true catastrophe, people would figure something out.)
So … bottom line. I am not worried about the apocalypse because I think it might well be an improvement over what we’ve got now.