So I’m watching the weather report on television and thinking about the end of the world. It seems there is a huge snowstorm happening on Vancouver Island. I grew up on that island, and I know how rare snow is there. I mean, it has happened before and it will happen again, but the way it’s coming down now is pretty rare.
As a child, we danced in the streets when we got 6 or 7 cm in November (we called it 2-3 inches in those days) and the same amount in February or March. I twice remember a white Christmas, and it was nothing to stop the clocks for.
But currently they have some 20 cm (8 inches) and are expecting the same amount, perhaps even more. Wow.
Makes you think the world is ending. Except the world doesn’t end.
Way, way, way too many times I have heard people point to anything happening in the world and getting excited (occasionally scared, but most of the time excited) about how the world is going to end. I have often wondered what it is that leads to such excitement, and come to a conclusion.
I think it’s two-fold: firstly, there’s the wonderful sense that if the world ends I don’t have to worry about how I behave any more. I don’t have to watch everything I do and say and think because, well, soon it’s not going to matter, right?
Secondly, though, I think there’s a sense of “we need something interesting in this day-to-day monotony” and the end of the world would qualify there.
I really understand that one these days, in the midst of this pandemic (memo to self: won’t it be good never to hear that word again). We all anxiously are waiting for something – anything – to happen. And it might. But it won’t be the end of the world.
I don’t believe the world will ever end. It’s not the point of existence. It might change substantially (although frankly I kind of doubt that, too) but something will continue. The thought that this universe has existed for some 14 or so billion years will somehow disappear on our watch smacks of a bit too much ego. I just don’t think we’re significant enough to get to witness the end of the world.
If it’s not the end of the world, I guess we have to get down to the bigger task of figuring out how to live together, and how to get along, and how to be kind to one another, in the meantime.
I understand why some people want it all to end.