Thursday, December 29, 2022

Alone at the End Of History

Pondering the end of the world turns out to be a 21st-century preoccupation. Doomsday has never seemed nearer than now. “Polls conducted in 2012 across 20 countries found over 14% of people believe the world will end in their lifetime… 
The general public believed the likeliest cause would be nuclear war, while experts thought it would be artificial intelligence. Only 3% of Britons thought the end would be caused by the Last Judgement.” 
People who proclaim they “trust the science” are especially sunk in gloom. 
For example, Greta Thunberg’s message to young people is “you are not going to reach adulthood because of climate change.” Greta famously wrote, “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. 
And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us.” In early 2022, Amanda Hess, writing in the New York Times, noted that people were already referring to themselves in the past tense. 
“A whole lexicon has arisen to attempt to describe its psychological impact: climate nihilism, climate grief, climate melancholia, eco-anxiety, pre-traumatic stress. A global survey of young people, released last year, found that more than half of respondents between the ages of 16 and 25 ‘felt sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty’ about it, and believed ‘humanity is doomed.’” 
The reason that even celebrity events felt depressing, Elle magazine explains, is “because the End Times are in full swing… Being alive in the year 2020 means experiencing powerlessness. Australia is burning. Millions of animals are dying. America’s f**k of a president just murdered Iran’s top military leader and is tweeting daily threats about committing war crimes. I feel utterly helpless. I feel guilty for buying a drink at Starbucks knowing that’s $5 I could put toward my heaping student debt.”


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