Since language evolved, humans have predicted “the end of the world.” And in a very real sense, they have all been correct. The world ends for us all, in different ways, at different intervals. Culture evolves. Nature interjects with a variety of catastrophes. Our knowledge and understanding of things becomes more distinct, and yet we discover there is still an infinity of things left to learn.
From the time we are born to the time we die, the world ends for us many times.
We transition from innocence. The world we knew is gone.
Our culture shifts its attitudes on some Truth (with that all important capital T), and the world that was deteriorates and is gone.
Political boundaries shift, or armies march, or terrorists incite violence and the world that was known is gone. Plague ravages through a population, and the world is changed.
What the collective “we” often forgets is that the end is also the beginning. Each time the end of the world as we know it occurs, a new world emerges. Not for all, but for some. And it is not always a good thing. But wait a while and it will change again…or if you are truly brave, become the change you wish to see and spread the seeds of change yourself.
For those who cling steadfastly to an old version of the world, life becomes more and more arduous – either because they are fighting the shift, or because they know they no longer belong in the new world.
With this pandemic, I see a lot of talk about what the “new normal” will look like. I imagine some Roman senator bringing up a similar subject after some cataclysm or recent wave of invaders; or the Aztecs after the Spanish arrived… or our own relatives as McArthyism wound up and then fell from popular support. The “new normal” will be what we make of it.
Let’s make it with clear intent for it to be a better place. Let’s spread the seeds and help them to take root.
No gnashing of teeth or railing against those things we have no power to change, but instead focusing on what we CAN do and what we CAN change.
In my life I have protested and I have gone out to feed people. In the great scheme of things I personally believe I made more change and better, when I fed people than when I marched.
But that is just one small human’s opinion. We all have free will, and can choose. I hope you will choose wisely, as I hope I will, too.
Be safe and healthy. Be the change you want to see in the world.