Friday, August 26, 2011

Apathy & Hedonism

It's been suggested that dealing with the realities of climate change and/ or peak oil is like going through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It's important to note that these stages are not in any real order, nor are they complete. Additionally, one my slip back into any of them later, acceptance not necessarily being an "end" stage, but more of a temporary state between bouts of the other, less fun stages.
I have been feeling a lapsing of acceptance recently, receding back into denial and it's various permutations. Retail therapy is nice, and I've been buying art supplies, and getting my mind off of the ugly state of the world by retreating into my normal pattern of unsustainability and hedonism. I'm working on some art projects, going to work, and living day by day as so many of us do. I sometimes fin myself thinking: Why bother adjusting my life if I will have to eventually anyway? Block out all the misery and war, all the inevitability of our demise, and be happy for what you do have.
This may sound really absurd, but I ruminate on and remember fondly often an old episode of ALF.
yep, that ALF

Anyway- He has some brush with death that I don't recall- and realizes his own mortality in a really visceral way. He becomes monomaniacal, obsessed with the potential for his own demise.
He can't do anything about it, but he sure as hell can try.
He won't leave the house, because some disaster may befall him outside. Then he begins to see the danger all around him in his own home, and moves into the garage and won't budge. Eventually the little boy makes him see that, in essence, even in the most prepared, safe environment- he is vulnerable, and there is simply no way to make his well being a sure thing. He comes to accept that he may be hit by a car, or caught by the bad guys, or a can of paint might fall off a shelf and hit him in the head, but the very act of being alive puts him at risk for death.
This all seemed very profound as a kid, and helped me get over my acute fear of nuclear holocaust (Thanks to Akira Kurosawa's Dreams for that one) and become ok with the fact that things are really finite.

I guess that's kind of how I've been feeling. A conscientious denial. Ok, so the world is going to get worse, not better. But it's not specifically your fault and there's certainly nothing you can do personally to fix it. I can do things to make myself feel better, but they won't necessarily be to my advantage, because I cant see the future, and nor can anyone else, and as much as I try to make my life more transition friendly, there's absolutely no guarantee that it will have any affect at all on the well being of my family or myself.
If I plant a garden to help my family eat, there are any number of reasons my efforts could be in vain, for instance.
Not to say I should neglect doing the things I can that will potentially help and certainly not hurt- but to spend so much time fixated on the problem won't help me.
It seems obvious, but when faced with the information at hand of how the world is declining even now, it's hard to integrate calm into my life.
I guess I just hit a wall. At a certain point I just get ineffectually angry, but can't make change happen. So I have to step back from that information for awhile and cool off or I'll just get more and more pissed and depressed until I'm useless.
There's not a good end point here so I'm just going to leave it with this. I have what I have now, and for now, I'm happy and things are good. I should prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and not think too hard about what the worst may be and how likely it is to happen or what it might be, because we simply can't know the future.
Be aware, be informed, do what you can, but remember to be happy for what you have and appreciate this short, interesting, awesome life, or something.


Post a Comment