What if we really couldn’t afford to take care of our elderly, infirm, sick, dying, homeless, wounded, maimed, disabled, crazy… ? What if even Defense had a budget so tight the argument over whether to pay for one B-1 Bomber or instead, pay for city schools, hospitals, firetrucks, meals, medicine, shelter simply evaporated. Evaporated into listless, desultory conversations about the way things used to be when it seemed that we had choices. It seemed we had choices and if we argued our preferences reason – and kindness – just might in the end prevail.
But then to get to what seems to be the end of the line and find that survival means paring down to essentials, eliminating the niceties, the superfluous, the frills, in just the way we do when stripping to fight – stripping ourselves of binding wraps, stripping our enemies of their humanity. We have to see them as not-people, as not-us, or suffer as we slay them. Even if we don’t slay but simply walk away, allowing them to not-thrive to their very deaths, it will be easier if they don’t seem human.
Will our sense of humor keep pace with our sense of the tragic, the flawed, the foolish if meaning and hope gurgle away? We are on a foundering ship but if we can, at least sometimes – laugh at life, at ourselves, at death, even as we throw the weak and helpless overboard, even as we know that we will inevitably follow them – then maybe we buy ourselves, and our healthy children, and our able friends – a little more time. Then we might survive. Then we might even survive to be worth something, remembering we did what we had to do in a time when there was no time for second guessing, and precious little time for tears. Laughter makes the gods crazy. If we want to outgrow them we need to laugh often and we need to laugh long. It wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and start laughing now.
… half-baked thoughts generated out of a National Geographic article on the Human population fast approaching 7 billion people. Happy New Epoch, everybody.