I’ve been following the news. Afghanistan. The horror of the situation — particularly for women and children — is almost more than I can wrap my brain and soul around, and fairly certain the world was ending, I considered which of my friends to consult on the matter and called my friend Alana, a fellow educator, who is the smartest person I know on matters global, cultural, social . . . seriously, she’s ridiculously smart.
Alana sort of convinced me the world was not ending, per se, and we could very well be entering a new Dark Age made uniquely peculiar by swift and significant technological achievements alongside a human nature that is innately slow to adapt to even the most minute deviation from the perceived “norm.” The human animal, overwhelmed by rapid change, engages in a kind of expedited anathema void of reason — as animals most of us are unable to adapt to any change much less the kind of staggering, rapid change that began at the start of the “Information Age.”
(Did I say this correctly, Teacher Alana?)
Or in Alcoholic Terms: humanity is way fucked up on proverbial booze right now because the most recently dead generations were ridiculously smart/resourceful and really fucking myopic and really fucked shit up (and made some great discoveries in science and humanities) before they “peaced out” into eternity and now humanity is trying to drown out the pain of the New World with proverbial booze (zealotry, idiocy) and it has not yet hit its bottom. Like, in my lifetime, Humanity will probably never get “sober.”
The change (the good and the bad) has been too much for our mean, stupid, pea brains.
Or to directly quote Alana (seriously, I have friends who are SO SMART I often take notes — I’m sure you have the same kind of friends if you open your eyes a bit wider and take notes), “Culture is stronger than reason.”
**Brief aside: I got up in the middle of writing this to try to sing “It’s the End of the World . . .” to Sarah, and I got pretty fucking far along in the lyrics and said out loud to her, and myself, “God damn. That was the BEST I’ve ever done!” I really do like that I’m reaching a place in my life where I can pay myself small compliments. **
All this to say, you’re in the Dark Ages now. The Medieval Times Part Deux. Welcome. Here we are.
The world isn’t ending. At least not according to one of the Top Ten Smartest People I Know. (I am reluctant to tell you, reader, that a great majority of the Top Ten Smartest People I Know, with whom I consulted yesterday agreed with me that yes, we are totally fucking fucked over and past the Moon.)
Welcome to the end of YOUR time.
Not the end of TIME.
There is a critical semantic difference.
For those of us under the age of 55, I am tremendously sorry because I know we were led to believe these would be great years in our lives. They still might be, but in a — you know — more fight-for-your-fucking-life way? In a more “perfume-the-nosecone” kind of way? In a more “well, this was truly fucking unexpected” sort of way, I think?
Today was a difficult Teaching Day for me, reader. Got to be honest.
Teaching has never been an “easy” profession, and I always have appreciated the rigor the craft demands (when done well and wholly) because it keeps me from my own Monkey Mind, and allows me to channel my gifts outward for the good of other human beings who will inherit what I will leave behind first.
Maybe you, reader, also are going to have to leave before my students.
Maybe if you’re over the age of thirty, you should just go ahead and presume that any kid in a k-12 school right now in America is probably going to outlive you.
What do you wish you had right now?
How can you impart that to the ones who will remain in this life after we have gone?
These days, in my teaching, I feel my primary job is to help my students, as children, to carry on with a measure of sanity and happiness in a life that is surely going to be full of far more Truly Baffling Problems than you or I knew as children because the last time anything remotely like this was happening, Dante-fucking-Alighieri was still alive.
No pun intended, and I sincerely hope
none was taken.
We’ll be okay, reader.
I mean, I think so.
This is all being filtered through the PTSD we collectively have from all of the fucked up things that have happened to us because we are now in in the Dark Ages again.
Not even the Bronze Age. Or the Iron Age. Or the Stone Age.
I think I would have rather lived through the Stone Age. You know, pre-agriculture, pre-capitalism, when there was absolutely no time whatsoever to feel anything but confused or hungry.
You would live, be confused about most things, maybe scrawl some shit you wanted to remember, eat fresh food, and die confused or hungry but never both.
Your dying thought,
in the Stone Age, would have been limited to our most primal wants and thoughts:
What I mean is that in Our Age, I feel very sad and frightened and furious sometimes. Not at one specific person — though there are many specific people, including myself, I could use as examples — is the target of my sad and scared and angry feelings. These feelings are so diffuse and fleeting, and this makes them harder to parse and carry.
Last week, a student, a little kid, said to their peers, “We gotta look out for Gruber, too!” And this statement touched my heart. I smiled at the kid, said “Thank you, ___,” and then said, “But I gotta look out for all of you first. Got it?”
And that’s all for today, reader. Sometimes, depending on our situation, we gotta look out for each other first. If I am the Actual Adult around an Actual Child (I’d argue this goes as high as 25 years of age), the kid comes first. That’s how we’re supposed to do it. That’s how life carries on even through the Neo Dark Ages.
Apologies to readers who read the first accidentally “published” draft of this. It was not proofread at all and there are mosquitos biting me out here in Tucson because it’s super rainy here because the planet is dying . . .