Everything in the world appears to be wrong, and I cannot seem to fix any of it.
The bees are collapsing, the amphibians are dying, the seas are warming, women are killed outright for sins men are carrying around in their heads, cops can shoot black people and walk away without even a slap on the wrist, and atrocities that I wouldn’t write into a book because I’d make myself sick have been done, ostensibly to keep me safe, and no one will ever be brought to justice for it.
And I feel like I could pour out the balance of my life on any of these things and I would die exhausted and the problem still wouldn’t be fixed. Might not even so much as budge.
And in some cases, it might be worth it, except that I don’t even know how to start. You may eat a whale one bite at a time, but I don’t know even where they’re keeping the forks.
Douglas Adams apparently thought, later in life, that he should have been a scientist, that being a scientist would have given him some chance to make the world better, and maybe he was right. (I think writing “Last Chance to See” really kicked him hard. I understand why.) Certainly politics isn’t doing it. The good politicians are, at best, trying unsuccessfully to put the brakes on the worst of what the bad politicians are doing. Scientists probably have the best shot at fixing anything. It’s a shame I’m so crap at math.
The problem…a problem…one of more problems than I can begin to fathom…is maybe that our narratives are so often about the hero fixing things. Winning. Making a difference. The heroine slays the dragon, averts disaster, keeps the world from going completely to hell in a handbasket. The hero shoots the bad guys or fights their way to justice or takes bloody revenge for the ills of the world, or whatever.
Anyway, you win. You don’t…I don’t know…make one tiny difference and hope the people who come after you don’t mess it up too badly. Even games that have no victory conditions also have no consequences. You lose at Tetris and you don’t have to cope with loss, you just restart.
Maybe we need the books and the games and the narratives that give us the coping mechanisms for not being able to fix things. For being one tiny person in a world that is so desperately screwed.
Because honestly, I am having a hard time coping with that right now. My usual small victories are looking smaller and smaller. I truly believe I’ve made a difference in the world, but the difference is so little and the world is so large and no matter how big those victories get, the world will always be so much larger. I could measure my life out in children who have read books and turtles helped across the road and food kitchen meals provided and all of that is good and it might prove that I’m not an awful human being, but the seas will not get any cooler because of it.
It seems cruel that despair is a mortal sin. They really get you coming and going on that one.
So, here we are again. We may fix nothing, so we might as well cope. Anybody read any good books?