Well, the suicidal election of #45 has come to this. Our president is off his rocker, or maybe high-chair. He’s just gotten into a pissing contest with Jong Un, and the two infantile national leaders just might do us all in in their mutual rage.
So, whether this is resolved sanely and safely by adults, or results in any of a number of other more or less pleasant outcomes, I’ll offer my thoughts on a worst-case such outcome, and why it doesn’t really bother me as much as it might:
I live in the home town of the largest US Naval installation on the East Coast. As such, it’s part of a designated nuclear strike zone in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
So dying in a nuclear holocaust seems pointless, but kind of abstract for me, so I’m rather stoic about it. Am I afraid? Yes, of course. But I don’t see how it helps, so I don’t let it bother me. Not for this. That’s because if and when the end comes, no evacuation will be possible in the time available, So I see no reason at all to worry about it, as worry would adversely affect my mental health, and so spoil the existential quality of what few minutes might remain of life.
Certainly, it would be a waste, would be pointless to die that way. but I see no reason that life must have a point outside of our own autonomy, that point, that meaning which we give it of our own choice, our own making.
But, the end will be swift and relatively painless due to my proximity to the base. Once the flash lights the sky up, that will be it for me, and I shall cease to exist.
The real tragedy would be the lives of the survivors elsewhere, who lose friends, family, loved ones in the targeted zones. They are the ones who must pick up the pieces of their shattered world, mourning the deaths of those they loved and moving on. Or at worst, lingering on in life while slowly, painfully dying, whether in the will to live and rebuild, or from the global consequences of a massive nuclear exchange on the human physical makeup.
I’m hoping that’s less likely than it may immediately seem with the current news cycle, but it’s the outcome for the survivors elsewhere that I think of whenever this comes up.
My life has meaning to me, meaning which I give it, not the authority of ancient texts of stories and Iron Age ritual purity laws. Stories can be very compelling to us humans as storytelling animals, but stories alone are not proof of anything real.
And that meaning will remain, along with my enjoyment of simply being alive, right up until the sky lights up.
So If you survive and you knew me, mourn not. My life is simply that – mine and no one else’s. Mourn instead for those others who live and must survive in a shattered world knowing the loss of those they knew and loved.
If you are among the survivors should the worst come to pass, then be brave. Move on. Do your best to rebuild what incompetents and lunatics have destroyed. You are still here, and in a way, lucky. Maybe, just maybe, you can change the world while rebuilding it. And make it a better world than the one that was lost.