Way back in the 20th century, long before this internet thing, I used to publish a quarterly newsletter. In one of the first issues, twenty-two years ago, I wrote:
A good friend asked the other day if I was still into “the doom thing.” I both cringed and chuckled at the sound of her words, paused for a few moments, inwardly sighing, and then answered, “Yes, I guess I am.”
She was alluding to my belief that we are living at a time of vast planetary change â€” our entire world shifting toward a long-awaited age of peace and honest relationship â€” and that necessary to the shift is a certain degree of personal and global upheaval; a time when social and political uprisings, economic dislocations, and extreme environmental difficulties all were fairly unavoidable; and a time when pain would surely follow every old refusal to let go and change.
Though I prefer terms like “planetary transformation” and “quantum leap in consciousness” and “global evolution,” I recognize and accept that there is a dark side of human suffering to all such possibilities, hence my association with “the doom thing.”
MyÂ tendencyÂ toward apocalyptic thinking goes all the way back to the early ’70s when it seemed there was no way to undo the problems of American culture short of a total breakdown. Yet somehow we sailed through Viet Nam and Nixon’s impeachment and the gas crisis of the Carter years with barely a hitch.
The Reagan years saw similar seemingly intractable problems â€” Star Wars and the rest of the Cold War money drain; trading arms with the enemy and other political fiascos; and such economic troubles as the Savings and Loans swindle â€” so again I looked toward massive breakdown as inevitable and again was wrong.
At that point I pretty much shelved the “doom thing.” I would soon become both a parent and a homeowner and, frankly, the status quo no longer seemed all that terrible.
As Y2K approached, I was fairly persuaded by the doom argument, but practically speaking, there was little my family could do about it. We had no extra income to spend on stocking up food and such, and even if we’d had the money, we had no place to put it all. So we just hunkered down, and were relieved when yet another doom train failed to arrive.
But here we go again. This time we face a number of doom-bringers, each of which looks to have the power to bring down civilization all by itself. Peak oil, global warming, global warring, the collapse of free-market capitalism, super viruses and other modern plagues â€” and through it all the feeling that we have seen the end of America’s amazing resiliency.
So, grimace and sigh, yes, I still believe in the doom thing, more than ever.
I just wish I Â knew what to do about it.