As we approach 21st December and the end of the world, a quick reflection on Armageddon as forecast by the Mayans (for whom the end of the world arrived a good deal soooner, of course).
Armageddon is a concept more familiar to my generation than to our children; when we were their age there WAS in fact a real chance that we would all be eviscerated, in a nuclear holocaust. We lived in Zurich for a while in the 90s and our house, like all the Swiss houses built then, had to have a nuclear shelter. Ours – a tiny concrete cocooned room with chemical loo and bunks – was filled with the detritus of family life and used as a wine store, for which civil disobedience we were fined. Even armed with several cases of claret we decided we really weren’t interested in surviving in a world inhabited by woodlice and Swiss people.
Of course, humans have a primitive urge to want to survive, which mixes badly with a predisposition to believe the worst of everyone and everything. I guess this is what drives the uber-rich to live in gated ghettos in London suburbs and the deranged to live half way up mountains in the middle of nowhere. What is the point? Life without society is just surviving in an unconnected vacuum. For many of these folk the end of the world has effectively already arrived. People are free to do what they like, of course, and freer if they have the money to do it, but when you come to think about it, it’s pretty offensive. Folk who are “just surviving” seem to ascribe no value to our society or to our environment.
As for me, I’m looking forward to 2013, or the Year of the Frog Ascendant as it’s known in this corner of Somerset. I hope frogs will be on the up next year – but that’s another story.