I am still in Limbo.
It occurred to me –as a result of this and of the collection of Keith Laumer stories and books I was reading – how people continue with a facade of normality even when things are shot to hell. It is both noble and bizarre – -often at the same time. It’s a coping mechanism which is hard to understand from the outside. It’s not that sane from the inside I might say.
It is how places like Mogadishu continue to function at all. It is how doomed sailors stay at their posts doing their jobs. It is how the band plays while the Titanic is sinking.
It’s how people carry on, in what might sometimes seem like a caricature of normalcy in the face of loss and devastation. Not everyone does, of course… just enough of the human race to make it a very human characteristic. Maybe, it is because normality can thus be returned, at least to a degree. Maybe it is just because we don’t know what else to do.
Millions upon millions of us are going through the rituals of day to day life, of civilization, although nations disintegrate around us, or our own lives are falling apart.
The Laumer collection I am reading plainly dates from an era when the cold war and mutually assured destruction were very much part of the zeitgeist. When, if we survived that, Malthusian disaster (and the coming ice age) where considered a virtual certainty (there are several stories set around both). You have to look at the current ‘absolute truths’ of Woke-ism and global warming and wonder just how our stories will read to a future generation.
The other thing that struck, fairly pointedly, was that it doesn’t really matter if it is a left wing utopia or a right wing utopia (Laumer would, at least by today’s standards, right.)… imposed utopias all suck. Curiously Laumer was suggesting something akin to google, facebook, twitter et al’s attempt at social engineering. Directing society… He fondly imagined it would work. I less fondly imagine that unless all people are clones and moulded into identical widgets, one man’s utopia, would be another man’s hell.
My utopia would have lots of space and the governance of utopia would leave me alone, as long as I left them alone, and others alone. I was reading a commentary on the breakups of nations (with reference to the situation in the US where increasingly the country is very divided. It was all very well saying how separation, once unthinkable, was becoming more attractive. Yeah. Well that’s different people’s utopia, see. One lot just want to be left alone. The other lot wouldn’t be in utopia if they couldn’t make other people do what they had decided was good for them.
In the meanwhile we continue the rituals of normalcy. I’m picking fruit and drying it for a tomorrow I am not sure we have. If regular life will resume. But if it does somehow work out… At least my gastro-intestinal tract will be regular.
Let’s hope and pray we can push through. And in the meanwhile: Drink tea. It’s not utopia, but its a comforting ritual of normality.