Imagine yourself, if you will, in a world post the apocalypse to come.
The Christians of the far right would be fine of course – they would have been raptured. Quite why their selfish god wouldn’t choose to swoop up a few decent Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims is a question way above my pay grade, but there you go.
Most of us would have met a grisly end – say 7.5 billion of us, leaving a mere few hundred thousand scrabbling for survival under pre-historic conditions.
Walking along a wind swept beach pounded by fierce waves you might come across remnants of man’s short lived supremacy on earth. The last rusting vestiges of our finest hours – a buoy, ripped from its bedding, its days of guiding maritime transport long gone. 20 feet high and rolling in the breakers; it’s lights gone out for good.
And so for much of the world, presumably. Vines and weeds cracking the concrete of motorways and airports, ivy and rot slowly eating the tower blocks and even the most glamorous of human habitation. Animals taking back the wild; fierce dogs, rodents, the vast insect population – now unfettered by the species which had dominated the earth for a short few hundred years before it met its comeuppance.
Without the rule of law, savagery would prevail. The prisoners from the secure wings becoming the new warders of the sparse few left, free to inflict unbelievable barbarity and cruelty, as might became truly right.
There never was a Noble Savage, just a savage, and now his time has come again – in the glory days of Western Capitalism, the beast devoted himself to destroying his brethren by commerce. Freed of commerce, a more traditional violence returns. The smash and grab of late stage capitalism becomes more literal, as scarce resources are hunted down and horded by bully boy gangs, led by those who were former drug kings and modern warlords.
In a play world of the imagination, a nihilist or nature lover might romanticize a landscape stripped of CCTV cameras, police sirens and politics.
Imagine roaming a land free of all that, a vast vista returned to raw nature. Endless beauty, endless plants, animals and natural wonder.
Realism would soon strike. Even in the absence of vicious human gangs, hyenas, wolves and predators would soon be back and it would simply be a continuation of survival of the “fittest”.
So yes, an emptier world would be very attractive for all sorts of reasons. An end to overcrowding, plenty for all, no robbery of the earth’s resources.
But whether of not we get the apocalypse we deserve, we need to move towards a better world, a fairer one. A better human race. Less greed, anger. Less Darwinism.
Sometimes I almost think I can see the light. An American pen friend wrote some thoughts I found beautiful today.
I can’t quite put my finger on it but what he wrote sounded so right. So familiar in some odd way. It made my hair stand on end, my skin gently ripple with a mild electric current. A sort of excitement filled me.
That sort of inner evolution seems so tantalizingly possible. Easy to say from the peace of my quiet cottage by the sea. Less easy when we are faced with the pressures of daily life.
Competition, aggression, greed – all of these things seem so far removed tonight. But outside the gates, the barbarians wait. What kind of vast upheaval must we bring about to create an Eden? Is it even possible?