AS WE KNOW IT?
I cannot remember ever having had a thought or a conversation about what, when and how our world might end.
Do you suppose that we have been genetically designed to block out such thoughts? Perhaps it’s a protection mechanism or, maybe, it’s a feature of nature, preventing us hubristic humans from trying to stop or change what lies ahead?
At the highest level, nature’s core responsibility is simply the perpetuation of life. Evolution is the mechanism by which this is assured, with all living things (including viruses) capable of mutating. We could not, for example, have anticipated the current virus in any meaningful detail, despite long experience with this category of pathogen. Such insight might have let us have a vaccination ready or at least some ameliorating drugs. That would have likely have changed a lot of what we are experiencing. And that, in turn, might have thwarted nature’s attack on our very existence.
Perhaps we are (and have been) at war with our earthly creator—Mother Nature? Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, we’re the threat – draining the planet of resources and choking off its very life with climate change – and Covid-19 is nature’s weapon of choice against us?
Thus, we appear to have been destined to face what we are now experiencing. And, in theory and in practice, nature will still be capable of wiping out our species.
The import of end of the world as we know it, boils down to what we mean by as we know it? When the asteroid hit in the Caribbean a long, long time ago, dinosaurs ruled the roost. Perhaps mother nature did not like those monsters.
When the earth cooled rapidly in 1815 after Mt. Tambora erupted in the Dutch East Indies the year before, crops around the entire globe suffered. And, there have been several other similar periods since before Christ. Yes, the Earth continued to revolve, BUT it did not continue as it had before.
The significant point is not that our planet has basically changed all that much BUT that our place and role as humans, who like to believe in our powers of control over our planet, seem to need occasional reminders that we humans are not as all-powerful as we seem to think, or would like to be.
So, when we say, ‘as we know it’, we mean predictable seasons, freedom from want, long term planning ahead and confidence that the world ahead will be at least as good as the world we knew, for our descendants.
If this virus experience does not teach us anything else other than ‘do not grow complacent and always take mother nature’s warnings seriously,’ we may, at least, temporarily come out ahead?!