I periodically hear or read observers who perceive the West’s morbid pathologies, but view them not with alarm, but rather zen tranquility. They counsel that these are simply the cycles of civilization. Man’s eternal fits and follies. Nothing that hasn’t occurred often before or just as frequently hence. Relax and take the long view. Things come and then they go. Isn’t there a new Star Wars movie premiering? If you can’t even find pleasure in a plucky black man putting one over on space nazis, then it’s time for some decompression.
There are those who find succor in such assurances. And most will soon be in theaters waving plastic neon swords. For this is exactly the sort of potemkin sagacity that issues from men just bright enough to say very dim things.
Upon noting this strain of upon-Olympus philosophizing, I’m always curious as to how tightly the speaker has gripped the implication. Whether we could be sitting together on a corkscrewing airplane as I patted his white knuckles above their iron grip and chided him to take a broader perspective of our last minute alive. People live, people die. It’s the cycle of life…though you’ll need to stop beseeching God to fully absorb my point. I thought you were spiritual not religious? Anyway, planes have crashed into dime-sized debris in the past and they will do so in the future. Whether you personally are a wholly-constituted human being or just a streak of pink slurry is no real matter of cosmic significance. The world keeps turning and hey, I think we can catch the first 20 seconds of Mission Impossible on the in-flight movie!
That my hypothetical flight companion would find these consolations compelling is quite doubtful. He would probably be as little impressed with this logic as the Etruscans are with the iPhone 6s. Because to say that a very large wheel proceeds to turn is not to say that you or yours will be rolling with it. And it is the latter not the former that our logic and intuition were evolved to ensure. These being the same faculties against which we struggle daily in service to liberal orthodoxy.
And so we deploy trite tautology to absolve ourselves of concern. The sun will continue to burn therefore… Whatever requires rationalization may be comfortably inserted after the ellipsis. And why not not? We shouldn’t be roused to such archaic matters. It’s the current year!