It’s funny, but every time I think I’ve given up hope for our species, something happens that makes me feel even more hopeless, proving that I had not yet reached a nihilistic point of no return. This week, as I’m sure you’re aware, a bevy of credible witnesses laid out for Congress in no uncertain terms the unprecedented and proven crimes of the pretend POTUS. Most dramatically, an ambassador named Dr. Fiona Hill utilized her opening statement to eloquently eviscerate the GOP members of the chamber for propagating long-debunked Russian-originated conspiracy theories in their ridiculous questions. And then…to a man, every single GOP member proceeded to double down on propagating long-debunked Russian-originated conspiracy theories in their ridiculous questions. This, of course, was to be expected, but after the public hearings wrapped up and everyone in the nation had heard from extremely reliable sources that Trump is an imminent danger to the country and the world, SUPPORT FOR TRUMP AND AGAINST THE INQUIRY WENT UP!!!!
This may finally represent the straw that collapsed the proverbial dromedary for me. Here we are, as a species, at the height of our potential, able to contemplate incredible possibilities for the future of mankind thanks to our increased knowledge and technological capabilities. War, pestilence and preventable death are at historic lows. And yet, I believe we’re doomed. We’re doomed because we CHOOSE to be doomed. All of that manufactured “meaning” has become so important to people that proven facts and the evidence of the senses are dismissed out of hand if the reality they reveal is incompatible with our imaginary “purpose”. We don’t even care if our “purpose” is good, bad or neutral anymore, as long as we have one. We will, in the very near future, assure our own extinction.
Thank god for that.
In his novel “Gallapagos”, Kurt Vonnegut beautifully illustrated your point about our intellectual capacity actually serving as the biggest threat to our survival. He dreamed of a process of de-evolution to dispense of the self-destructive potential of overthought culminating in a dumber, slightly furrier version of ourselves with a much greater capacity for happiness.
Out here in Albuquerque, we have all sorts of ancient petroglyphs etched into the volcanic rock on the outskirts of the city. The residue of the first examples of human self-importance, but no less fascinating for being so.
You make a good point about the weight of a vehicle crushing the organic majority of Colonel Austin’s body. Here’s another good point about The Six Million Dollar Man: it’s established right in the title that in 1970s dollars, it cost $6 million to give Steve a bionic arm, eye and leg(?). A few seasons into the show, we’re introduced to Sasquatch, who is also, curiously, bionically endowed. Who in the fuck decided to spend several million dollars to enhance the limbs of a mythical forest-dwelling primate? Think on that one.
Fantasy, in whatever form each of us find most pleasing, is essential, for exactly the reasons I delineated in the body of this letter. Having washed my hands of silly sociopolitical concerns and even hope for my own species, I still largely enjoy the act of existing and this is largely due to my ability to suspend disbelief, with the understanding that I’m doing so, and enjoy the work of other people’s imaginations.
But if even fantasy gets stale, is there anything else? Believe it or not, I think there is. Kindness to others, just for the sake of it. I’m not so good at that, admittedly, but if a challenge is what’s called for in my life of extreme leisure, perhaps this is it. Do you agree? Might I not enjoy myself immensely if I fashioned myself into some kind of self-styled modern day Robin Hood? Or should I just cut my losses and check when the next episode of iCarly is airing on TeenNick?