If you consider yourself a “doomer,” I suspect you’ve had people tell you you’re being defeatist, you’re not helping, you’re dragging everyone else down, or “you’re part of the problem.” What these accusatory folks don’t understand is that doomers aren’t by nature defeatist, but can no longer escape the conclusion that the world the accusers cling to is forever gone, and a new and frightening one is rapidly emerging. We are past the tipping point, or hurtling so fast we couldn’t possibly arrest our motion in time to prevent an overshoot of the tipping point, for virtually every issue of consequence.
Many of those clinging to the past (“clingers,” for our purposes here) cry, “But I have to have hope!” My friends, short of someone inventing a viable time machine, there is no hope of going back, and those who cling to that notion put their continued survival, in a very literal sense, increasingly at risk. I submit that it is not an exaggeration to say that the psychology underpinning the doomer mentality is an adaptive survival trait that will become increasingly valuable the further we are thrust into the brutal undiscovered country that lies before us.
Every issue of substance today – every single one – is on a disastrous trajectory by any measure even approaching a semblance of objectivity. These are just a few:
- The raging “syndemic” of COVID and multiple other threats (influenza, RSV, bird flu – take your pic);
- Associated collapse of global healthcare systems, and almost certain impact on vital supply chains;
- Political banditry, which encompasses a broad scope of offenses – corruption, authoritarianism, lack of accountability for and from “both sides,” criminality, collusion, etc.;
- The rich and shameless who control the politicians;
- Manipulation and control of information by the media, which is also owned by the rich and shameless;
- Injustice and inequity of every conceivable kind;
- Pollution, from contaminated drinking water to the massive islands of plastics in the oceans;
- Depletion of fresh water sources;
- And of course, climate catastrophe, which not only threatens with its own titanic destructive power, but will also amplify the effects of almost every other issue;
- And more…
Doomers see the reality of these things because they seek out data on issues of concern. And once convinced the danger is real, they do not deny it, but try to call attention to it in the (vain) hope that a call to action will inspire the collective to avert disaster. Clingers do the opposite: they come up with any excuse to avoid embracing the looming reality of devastation, refuse to accept the need to adapt and change (which if done soon enough would in fact avert the worst outcomes!), and then castigate the doomers with a long list of uncomplimentary descriptors…or worse.
“But is there no hope?”
Of returning to the past? No. Read this and heed: the world we once knew is gone. Most of us still go through the motions of our daily lives, but we are doing so in a world that is rapidly fading into shadow. Our hope now is to live as long and as best we can, given both our individual and collective circumstances, working together and supporting one another, even if as a virtual community, as much as possible.
This is not a call to give up or surrender, to stop seeking truth or accountability; it is simply an acknowledgement that these efforts, sadly, are unlikely to bear fruit in time to divert the Titanic away from its rendezvous with the iceberg. The forces we face – governments, the media, the wealthy donors who control them all – cannot be defeated without radical action that they take every measure to suppress, and which requires a degree of organization that is likely unachievable.
As difficult as it may be to accept, we must continue to sound the alarm while simultaneously making our way in good order to the lifeboats. Beyond that, we have no way to know what lies in the icy waters beyond.