Apocalypse Later

Yesterday I linked to Kate Petty’s excellent post about Saturn and Mercury’s dance through Scorpio and the apocalyptic anxiety it could be forcing us to confront.  What I didn’t mention is that yesterdays conjunction sextiles my Sun which is currently undergoing a conjunction to Pluto and square to Uranus.  In other words, like a lot of my Cancer/Capricorn brothers and sisters, Kate’s analysis really hits home.  Apocalypse NOW, my Little Tomatoes.  Trust me, I don’t want it to be so, but the facts are leading to this conclusion and rapidly.

The question is, what do we want to do about it?

One of Kate’s links will lead you to another link on the same site, a video (posted above) filmed at the beginning of this month by a biologist working towards spreading the word on climate change.

For the first three minutes of this four minute video I simply felt annihilating despair, something which I think lies trapped beneath the surface of most of us these days (though arguably it’s simply a part of the human condition).  It’s everywhere, this despair.  It’s in every major end-of-the-world themed blockbuster.  We’re beginning to take it for granted, that something really bad is coming.  It wasn’t always like that, children’s movies were about golden brick roads, not deathstars.

But it’s like that now.  I look at my nephew and his shiny upturned face and the rush of love I have for him carries a hook with a dreadful undertow.  What is this world he’s coming into?  How can I protect him from it let alone explain it to him?

Fortunately the last minute of the video contained the most important information anyone has yet given me on how to look at this time we are living in.  Guy McPherson follows his prediction of human extinction by 2040 by stating eloquently:

“we have a limited time on this planet, and in fact we’ve always had a limited time on this planet.  Let’s act like that.  Let’s act as if we’re in hospice, as if everybody’s is in hospice, as if the entire living planet is in hospice.  When I see how people act when they’re in hospice, when they’ve been given weeks or months to end I never see people acting as if they need the last dime, as if they need to make a little bit more money as the world burns.  What I see instead is people pursuing a life of excellence, pursuing what they love, acting with compassion and courage and creativity and giving things away acting as if they live in a gift economy.  Let’s do that, let’s do all of that. Pursuing a life of excellence, pursuing what we love, acting as if we’re in hospice.  Acting as if we’re decent human beings…  Let’s pursue what we love, let’s act as if our insignificant lives matter to those around us.”

He’s careful to point out he’s not saying just roll over and take it, he’s actually saying the reverse, DON’T give into despair, surrender to action instead.  I heard it.  Did you?  For me it was in the word hospice.  If we’re in hospice, if our time left is so limited (and let’s fact it, even if the world DOESN’T end in 38 years we are still All. Going. To. Die) then the way I choose to spend my time is by loving people.  By sharing myself and being open to others.  By connecting.

When it’s all over and we’ve returned to the stars I want to feel like I made a difference in my friends lives, in my family’s lives, in the lives of the people I see day to day, moment to moment.  This may seem small, and perhaps it is, but there is real grace in it.  There is joy there, and truth, and besides, small gets a bad rap.  Small can be powerful, small can make all the difference.  It strikes me there’s others out there feeling this imperative.  Brene Brown has been talking about the power of making yourself vulnerable for some time now.  When Cheryl Strayed began writing the advice column Dear Sugar she tapped into it too.

It’s all around.  Love is all around.  It’s easy in a dystopian society to feel apart from it, to feel disconnected and lost.  To feel alienated.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  We can choose something different.