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On the end of the world…

January 12, 2012

I’m not the worrying type. Of course I worry, but I’m generally pretty good at allowing myself to push aside my worries to live my life, right now, not so much. I blame knowledge. I’ve been reading books again (I know, what? On your iPad? Do you have a Kindle? No. Books…remember? Paper) and they’re scaring me.

Over the holidays I finished reading “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn, which I just learned was written in 1992. Read the book, and if you don’t have time to read the book, read the WikiPedia page I just linked. Mostly, it was eye-opening, but it was also all-encompassing and exhausting. Reading hundreds of pages of discussion of how humans have ruined the natural order of things on earth made me feel…guilty. I don’t know how to move forward with my life after closing the book. We are just so far gone into our “system” that clearly doesn’t work. To reverse or undo what we’ve done seems impossible at this point. The message that Quinn wants you to walk away with is that we should look to the indigenous types left around the world (Native Americans, etc) for guidance; but how do I shut my computer, not drive my car, stop shopping the Urban Outfitters sale rack? It’s impossible to finish a book like that and just walk away without taking anything with you. I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem, but I don’t know how.

That book ended, though, and I resumed my life and picked up the next book in my ever-growing stack on the nightstand, “World War Z”. Three pages in and I realized that my dissatisfaction with humanity was not ending any time soon. Sure, “WWZ” is a fictional story about a war against an ever-growing zombie population, but there is a lot of truth in there, a lot of truth about how useless our society is, about how the middle and upper classes in this country don’t know how to do anything practical. The higher up you are the less you know how to do and the more you know how to delegate. I’m generalizing, but let me tell you, this book hasn’t allieviated any of my fears or guilt.

And then last night I wasted spent two hours watching “Melancholia”. I have a high tolerance for “art” films, even “boring” films, but this took it way too far. “Melancholia” would have been spectacular had it been 100 minutes shorter. But, the world finally ended. And with it, my foray into apocalyptic subject matter.

Beautiful, but exhaustingly boring

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