Friday, October 5, 2007

And I Feel Fine (The End of the World Blog)

I was thinking about the end of the world. Which is stupid, I know. Weird, definitely, I know. Depressing, at least. I know. On the other hand, I've come to think, maybe it's good for me to think about those things every once in a while. Not to get sucked into that whole mess of thought; but to graze it, maybe, just enough to get a cross-reference for where I am in life, and for where I want to be.

When I think about the end of the world, the apocolypse, the second-coming for some, a lot of things come to mind: Movies for one (Land of the Dead, On the Beach, and of course everyone remembers Armageddon. The epitome of shameless blockbusters. With Liv Tyler. She's hot. And Ben Affleck. He cries. Which is weird. And Bruce dies. Which should've been sad.). I think of all the Bible stories I was told as a kid (People disappearing, mass destruction, a dude called the Anti-Christ being the biggest punk... EVER.) I think of popular songs (I can only remember two right now: The classic It's the End of the World As We Know It by REM and the latest tried-and-true radio-friendly hit from Matchbox Twenty, How Far We've Come). The last couple days has also brought thoughts of a certain video game (I think you might've heard of Halo 3? What better way to experience mankind's last days than to do it kicking ass?)

What most of these things have in common is their unwavering portrayal of mass chaos, things blowing up, people dying, etc. Don't get me wrong; I'll be damned (pardon the pun) if I don't get at least a few good explosions and someone maybe getting knocked unconscious or something, before I die. But really? The scariest moment in history is going to be the same thing we've seen (albeit on a smaller level) in human history for thousands of years? Something maybe only a little worse than what some random geek at Bungie Studios could simulate with the latest in consumer technology?

I mean no disrespect for those who have seen and known the horrors of war (or for that matter, the geek at Bungie), but somehow it seems a little anti-climactic that our final moment is going to be the "same ol' same ol'," just on steroids and everywhere.

I had a couple near-death experiences growing up. One was a close call with a drunk driver speeding down the wrong lane in the dead of night. Aside from my friend squealing in the seat next to me, the most distinct memory I have of that moment is me thinking, "God. This isn't as scary as I thought. Maybe dying's not the worst thing that could ever happen to me." Yeah, it'd suck. But if you're a Christian, you get the whole eternal life basket, complete with unending euphoria and long discussions with the likes of Gandhi and Moses. If you're an atheist, you get the tricky prize of nothingness. That is, you lose everything you've ever loved or worked for or enjoyed on some level; but you also lose the ability to regret that loss, or in any way reflect upon it. Really, the worst part about dying is who you leave behind; and if everybody's dying, what's the big deal?

I know, I know. I'm belittling something that that is very serious and very inevitable and very difficult to deal with if you're the one left behind. I know, because I've lost friends and grandparents, too, and it blows to lose something that you never again have the choice to even try to get back. Death, in that sense, is not something for the dying to experience, but rather for the living (is that a quote?). Even still, we recover. There are worse things, I think.

Pain. Suffering. Yes. But still, psychologically, we find ways to cope.

So what's the one thing that trumps everything else, that's so vital to each of us that it makes the apocolypse more terryifying than anything we've ever known? Our soul.

"Armageddon is inside of all of us." If that's not a classic rock lyric already, it should be. The worse thing that could be thrown at me isn't a hurling ball of flame, or a bullet, or an asteroid the size of Texas. It's something that tears at who I am, that disintegrates my desire to be human. Something that gets under my skin. Something undefinable.

That, to me, is the end of the world. All the chaos and mass destruction, but focused inward. And that, to me, is more terryifying than death.

So live well. Don't be a punk.

Right, so now I've either bored you or depressed you or both, and I apologize. Sort of.