The End is Nigh: Repent, Read Fast, Rush the Exits


Frankly, I am surprised Providence, Fate or the distraught Creator looks to grant us one more year awash with impossible dilemmas: rising populations, greedy bankers, depleted resources, nukes galore, too many guns and too much hot air — all coming together to spell doom. Or, Doom, for does not such a mind-blowing word deserve formality? Some days the dread I read makes me wonder if another year is a blessing or a curse, especially for those better at complaining than throwing ourselves on the gears of a status quo nary anyone likes.

What kind of world did humanity twist into shape, when the richest live well — only to spend their time and treasure fretting some pitch-forked minority will take their winnings. Imminent gloomy predictions for 2016 blithely assume the first week of January is not on the Almighty’s schedule for local Armageddon. And that consequence promises our minuscule, third order planet a ride none of us will soon forget: imagine a one-way catapult into the emptiness of outer space. If the earth has no center, then we become smithereens that seed another world in another time. Imagine 1000 tornados triggered by nuclear explosions. Ka-blue-ie. Or is it Kablewie? We’d go where no spelling has gone before.

In the final judgment, ahem, the Biblical end of times is the only outcome that unifies secular and religious types: true Apocalypse outpoints even the scariest climate change predictions for baking (or broiling) the earth, all in all, a mere ripple across the cosmic fabric. Our absence won’t dent eternity, nor infinity, nor worlds that haven’t ever even heard of us.

That’s what we get for such inglorious presumption, beginning with the arrogance to name our paltry speck the “earth.” One wonders what humbler, far-off creatures call their ground of being: Stuff? Mass? Ground? UnSky or UnWater? And shouldn’t Earth always be capitalized, following the same logic on Doom? Or DOOM, presuming whatever dignity remains for mankind, considering how little time it took us to make such an unholy mess!

Certain End of the World

Bet the farm on this prophesy. Our most outspoken naysayers shout in unison: whatever is this mystery, existence-wise, can’t go on. Full Apocalypse aside, imminent nuclear war gets the first nod, though there’s considerable vagueness still which maniac will imperil reality with this flashiest of fisticuffs. If not nukes, then will capitalism, exploitation, predation, slavery, the dirty trio of mining, shipping and manufacturing, or gross inequality of distribution, sound our species’ death knell.

I’d call on Macbeth’s famously depressing aria on meaninglessness but there’s fear abroad we may not even have “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” creeping in its petty pace. No time left, as the cliff edge erodes under our feet, for those who conclude history has only “lighted fools/ The way to dusty death.” And who but a fool like Macbeth agrees life is reducible to a “tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing”? Not this camper. I tell you, hardcore doom and gloomers have nothing on Macbeth, so desperately trapped in his own hell he denies meaning is possible. By the way, this character isn’t speaking for Shakespeare, who’d never have written another line had he swallowed such pap.

Certain End of America

Okay, on the slim odds either the earth doesn’t implode — or blow itself up –or some higher power doesn’t slam us with a big, fat asteroid, then dark prophesy still foresees the imminent demise of America. Our dollar wobbles on a precipice (though why it keeps rising, I leave to economists), the misdirected, blundering economy run by nitwits is a house of cards (and none are aces), and suicidal, overseas evil-doing (also run by nitwits) surely marks the end of this discredited, transitory empire. Unclear if we go out with a whimper or another big bang.

Okay, employment is up while inflation is down, energy prices are affordably low, stock markets hold their own, and job incomes are rising, Right, that must be the faux silver lining before the ominous cloud bursts. Or is good economic news the sneakiest, most contrary indicator of all? Because the US has such an immoral foreign policy, some higher power is so they say poised to drop a bomb to deter wickedness.

It’s quite remarkable that so many visible positives, along with the absence of open civil war extremists militants anticipate, can so obscure such a poisoned, sick, broken system leaning over the abyss. All this fraudulent good news must be a media front, for it is common knowledge that the press and airways, when not impugning the noblest of foreign leaders, like that savvy Russian forever outsmarting the west, dishes out waves of propaganda. Disaster is self-evident for those who read the handwriting behind the wall and under the rocks.

Certain End of Normalcy

Trump, Trump, Trump goes the thumping army. The Donald Stomp, with about the same finesse, is discombobulating the transient circus world of pre-primary pollsters. And the facade of GOP normalcy has been shredded, causing we hope the first, major tectonic cracks in their constituency since Reagan. What kind of normalcy allows an unelectable buffoon to lead the pack of befuddled dinosaurs, mainly by personally insulting the competition?

It’s not that Trump the great liar is so swift or brilliant, yet his front-running status does confirm this: the rest of the pack of rightwing losers are dismal. No doubt, the establishment GOP, so adept it elevated such giants as McCain and Romney, dominant over nominations since Calvin Coolidge, is not feeling its oats. But let’s not yet count out traditional voting patterns, unlimited billions available with a nod, and countless, Republican foot soldiers who fear for their party’s life were Trump to top the ticket. No one else, cry the fearful, could put the Senate or House in play, unimaginable only months ago.

Even the normalcy of the Democratic Party nomination looks out of whack. And the progressive surge is only getting started. Why, progressives enjoy the rebellion by a dreadfully honest and genuine, uncharismatic senator named Sanders. That Sanders is more than holding his own, way past prior pull dates for noisy protest figures, augurs change in the air. Sanders’ movement has even done the nearly impossible: made Hillary into a less objectionable candidate, offering positive noises on banking regs, TPP and Keystone, on health care, the environment and minority rights. Too bad even having Bernie around cannot alter years of high distrust, that HC rarely means what she says (except about war-making).

And the finale . . .

In sum, I can’t decide if I am more surprised that the world hasn’t already ended (and this is some phantom universe), that America hasn’t fallen on its face, or that Hillary sounds more liberal than ever. In any case, the professional doom and gloomers, the conspiracy fanatics, and the paranoid existentialists (“we won’t know the end until it’s too late”) will not depart as 2015 ends. Too many prophets are invested in being right, whether it’s predicting disaster or counting the days before the marauding west evaporates in its own inept, if evil brew.

All in all, few will miss that 2015 will not again appear in our chronicles of history. And that I say is good news. Plus, for today at least, I say to all: Happy New Year. 2016 offers unknowable, unpredictable opportunities, some more beneficial than we now imagine and yet with enough calamities we trust our Calamity Janes won’t lack for words or passion.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.