I came of age in the Age of Aquarius when “peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars." I seem to be exiting stage left in the Age of Apocalypse when true believers shout that the end of the world is at hand. Every crisis is a global crisis, every event a sign the last days are coming. We are not just pessimistic about the future, we are afraid of it. It makes it kind of hard to have fun. The brutality of ISIS portends a violent clash of civilizations – and as Graeme Wood’s chilling piece in The Atlantic asserts, ISIS believes itself “a key agent of the coming apocalypse.” Environmentalists worry we will die in our own emissions, fighting over our vanishing resources. Benjamin Netanyahu paints for Congress a Middle East “crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires.” “Obamacare = a death panel for the U.S. economy.”
When I was a kid, we played “Cowboys and Indians,” which transported us, six-shooters and all, into a mythical past. We were actors whose cap guns gave us some power in our small, politically incorrect drama. When I watch movie trailers now, I see a grotesque future filled with robots and monsters bent on destroying, as far as I can tell, the entire universe.
It's tempting to retreat from a world so out of our control. Or we could accept it, make what small contribution we can, and live fully engaged the few years we get on this earth.