I spent a couple hours this afternoon catching up on political news and blogposts. Great googly-moogly, is it depressing.
It almost seems like a race to the finish to see how we'll wipe out our species. Global warming and climate change? An attack on Iran that leads to all-out nuclear war? Or maybe we'll get lucky, and only the US Empire will collapse. Significant economic troubles are looming on the horizon that will only be worsened by political instability--while both are in turn made worse still by extreme weather conditions and burgeoning natural disasters.
It's a vicious cycle of global instability that could lead to our extinction. Not something you really want to contemplate, and certainly not something you want to experience in your lifetime. Perhaps we'll face a second Great Depression, a third (or fourth, depending on who you ask) World War, or even a new Dark Ages. It's really impossible to predict, but unfortunately there are far more plausible scenarios in which things turn out horribly wrong.
I've not lived many years in this world, so I only have a couple decades of life to reflect on. Perhaps I underestimate human resourcefulness, our ability to come together in times of crisis, our indefatigable will to survive. But just because we've enjoyed decades of relative stability does not mean that this trend will continue indefinitely. I'm skeptical of the historiography of cycles that people use to comfort themselves when times are tough.
Hope is so difficult today. Sometimes I really understand the appeal of religious faith. There, you have something to hold onto, something immutable and eternal, a force of good guaranteed to win out in the end. Those of us who advocate a this-worldly attitude have no equivalent comforts to offer. As one of my professors likes to put it, our secular creed is a call for sustained effort, for hard work, but with no guarantees except for death.
It's tough to care about the world, about humanity, through this lens. It's easy to say fuck it, I'll just try to make life as pleasant as possible for myself and those I'm close to, the rest of the world be damned. Why bother?
I don't know the answer to this question. I haven't given up quite yet, but I already feel cynical beyond my years. On many days, I still have a short-sighted hope, for my own life-prospects at least. But then there are days like today, when I survey the world around me and it's all turned to shit.
So, I ask you, my few but dearly-appreciated readers:
How do you keep hope alive?