Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Get a Grip"

"Get a Grip"
by Ian Welsh

"Get a grip. And lower the drama. Yeah, the world system is broken, and yes, we are due for a series of catastrophes which will be apocalyptic for many. It’s already been apocalyptic for a lot of species, and there’s no cosmic calculus which says that humans are immune: The top of the food chain usually dies in great die-offs, actually. But this stuff is in the future. Today, the majority of people are substantially as well off as they were in 2015. I doubt anyone reading this is doing so from, say, Yemen.

Trump is not the worst leader to ever lead a country, and so far he hasn’t done anything as bad as what either Bush (Iraq) or Obama (Libya) did. Of course, you’re probably American and may be scared of losing your Obamacare, but war is worse than that. It’s just that, hey, you’re American, and America is supposed to do the worst crimes to people overseas or to blacks, hispanics, and poor whites in dank hole prisons where you can’t hear them scream, where you can’t see their agony and degradation.

Now, of course, if your personal life is going to hell due to your personal economy, health, or social relationships, well, that’s bad, and that may even be related to politics (in the broader sense, it almost certainly is), but most people are about as well off as they were before Trump.

As I have pointed out repeatedly, people during WWII still managed to love, find time to be happy, write novels, and so on. This isn’t WWII, it isn’t the Mongol Invasions or the An-Lushan rebellions (far worse than WWII compared to the world population at the time, by the way).

If you’re basically healthy, have food, a soft warm place to sleep, and aren’t ruled by a tyrant in your daily life, well, life is basically fine – assuming no one you love is suffering hugely. That was true two years ago, ten years ago, and one hundred years ago.

Unless you’re reading from Yemen or Syria or something, get a grip on yourself. Things are going to get far worse than this, and if you’re not too old and reasonably healthy, you’ll likely be here for at least some of it. If you’re flying apart at this, then how will you handle catastrophe when it actually arrives?

Use this as an opportunity to learn equanimity or toughness (the two are basically the same), and how to be good to those around you even when things are somewhat shitty. When everything does go bad for your part of the world, will you keep it together and be a source of warmth, love, and competence? Or will you be broken? It’s perfectly human to fear, and sadly human to live in fear of a future that isn’t here yet. But it’s no way to live.”

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