Wildfires, hurricanes, a monstrous pandemic, collapsing buildings, an aging and crumbling infrastructure, and hundreds or thousands of assorted mini-disasters affecting villages, tribes, families, countries, states, and other miscellaneous political subdivisions.
In other news, the world goes on, as if calamities were simply factors with which the universe must regularly deal. And so it is. There’s nothing new about the horrors facing us. The only difference between today and a thousand years before is the speed with which the news travels. Well, okay, some characteristics of the chaos we encounter are decidedly modern. But, in general, humankind and our fellow Earthlings—including birds, insects, animals, and vegetation—have always faced such monumental challenges. And we’ve either survived, collectively or individually, or not. Tragedies are tragic only to the extent that they impact what we wish to be “normal,” even though normal is a fallacy. Everything is normal, in the context of geologic time. Which makes “normal” in terms of our limited-scope definition an aberration. “Normal” is deviant, in other words. We clamor for the kind of deviance that makes us feel like the world is a predictable place. But it’s not.
Now, in spite of my sincere belief in what I’ve just written, I’m not a fan of accepting catastrophic failures of bridges and buildings and geologic structures as “just another day in paradise.” But what else can we do, really? Wring our hands, howl at the moon, and pray to something or someone that very probably is the product of long-dead fears that have been given new lives with each succeeding generation? Yes and no. We have choices, of course. Yet we’re told by “the authorities” we do not. I mean, of course, religious and secular power-brokers who feel sufficiently emboldened to attempt to assume control over our lives.
Recently, I was reminded of a film I watched many years ago. Entitled The Gods Must Be Crazy. Something about it must have triggered my thoughts this morning. But I remember little of the film, just as I remember little of many others. I must explore. I need to relive that film and how it made me laugh.