These days, I’m more likely to feel hopeless than sad, more likely to feel as if nothing is ever enough, as if nothing really makes a difference, as if our whole human civilization is unraveling and there is nothing I or anyone can do about it. It’s a different feeling from sadness, and perhaps it needs a different, more complex set of ideas for coping with it. Here’s what I came up with to that end:
So embrace hopelessness! It’s OK! It makes sense. Read John Gray’s Straw Dogs. He, too, will tell you that it’s hopeless, that “When [the human species] is gone Earth will recover. Long after the last traces of the human animal have disappeared, many of the species it is bent on destroying will still be around, along with others that have yet to spring up. The Earth will forget mankind. The play of life will go on.” But that we can, should, must still be intentional, responsible, and joyful.
elephant weeping at his daily visit to the site where a herd-mate died; from an extraordinary photo essay by roshan patel, published in the journal “the modest proposal”
I will resist the temptation to rant about things I think are dumb to do when you’re feeling hopeless (like praying, or asking others for help), because that would get me into arguments, and arguments on things like religion and psychiatry are worse than hopeless.
So, if you’ve read this list, I trust you are not feeling better.
After all, it is hopeless.