When it’s all gone

“There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Not a day goes by without reading about some man-made disaster, event or issue that says all you need to know about the human condition: we don’t care.

That’s right.

We don’t care.

Oh sure, we care that we’ve got food on the table, money to spend and mobile phones (just kidding!), but when it comes to anything more profound, namely war, greed, poverty, the environment, inequality and the litany of things that unsettle us (or do they, really?), we sit on the sidelines.

I don’t know why, but then again I do: it’s the way we are.

I had this image the other day of an ant colony (a formicary), or rather the equivalent built by humans. It wasn’t one of those beautiful, tall structures that we’ve all seen on the forest floor, but millions of little clumps of sand or soil with a few ants merrily going about their own business. And then the rain came and most were washed away. Of course, this is ridiculous but that’s how it feels to me when we all live in separate houses, go to work in our cars and by and large keep ourselves to ourselves. There are exceptions but not enough, not nearly enough to change the narrative from ‘me’ to ‘us’. However, even if we evolved to live in community, we’d still have to agree a framework of greater equality, stewardship of the earth and non-ownership (some parts will have disappeared or be so deleterious that we can’t inhabit them) and, most importantly, live for a higher purpose.

I used to think that someone, a great leader, would come along and wake us up from our narcissistic torpor. But I no longer believe that. Neither do I believe that the logic of what I say, particularly about the environment, will lay upon our hearts and spur us into action. We’re past that point. No, regretfully, I fear that the only thing that will make a difference is when something cataclysmic happens. And then we’ll run around blaming everyone else by which time it will be too late to take action.

If this sounds depressing, it is. It’s bloody depressing.

As my parents used to say, “When it’s gone, it’s gone”.


My point exactly.

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