Sunday, December 26, 2004

A year or so ago Stephen Hawking predicted the human race would go extinct within 1,000 years unless it expanded into space. Between global biowarfare, nuclear proliferation, rogue asteroids, and ecocaust, we don't have much of a chance unless we take radical measures. I've always thought Hawking was being naively optimistic and generous; 300 years seemed a more likely figure. Now, in my mind if nowhere else, that figure is dropping to somewhere between 50-100. The veil of optimism -- the smokescreen of contrived hope -- is in tatters, and I suddenly realize what a bruising my psyche has taken while trying to keep up a positive front.

Maybe this is what psychologists call "externalization": Maybe things aren't all that dire, but my frustration with myself -- my uncertainty -- is superimposing itself on the outside world. Or maybe people are saner and kinder than I assume. Or just maybe the environment can take an unprecedented artificially instigated pounding and still keep a human population of billions alive and in reasonable health.

Is it any wonder Christian Fundamentalism has made such an appalling cultural and political comeback? I honestly suspect most of us harbor an unrecognized visceral certainty that we're on the brink.

Maybe I've been out of the loop all along, while the Fundies have enjoyed something like prescience. The irony stings.

No comments: