The End of the World and the Enjoyment of Water

We’re on the 40th floor of a high rise building. There is a fire alarm. We ignore it. Someone knocks at the door and says we must evacuate. We ignore that.

Eventually, the power dies, and the room is getting hotter. We look out the windows. We see the lower floors are engulfed in flames and the fire department is pulling back. One of us sees a headline on his cell phone. The Mayor says those still inside will be cherished and remembered.

Someone says, “It’s still possible someone will come for us.” And it’s true that such an event is not outside the realm of theoretical possibility, though the consensus outside seems to be otherwise. It’s possible that someone will think of an idea, but actually, the smartest minds in firefighting and experts who have devoted their lives to rescue operations happen to also be in the building with us—trapped on the floor just above, and we just got a text message saying anything they can conceive of, at this point, would be too late.

So we sit down to glasses of water in a room in a burning high rise, which is where our species is with the catastrophe of changes to the natural world. Some of us deny there’s a fire. Some insist a solution will appear. Some offer an alternate reality with transcendent meaning for a world without us. And some simply acknowledge that soon we won’t be able to breathe, so the relentless approach of reality will silence our theories to the contrary.

In that room, I would prefer to enjoy my sips of water and not pretend that it isn’t the last time I will have them.

This is not a belief or an opinion, but simply a response to the mounting evidence around us. It is simply an acknowledgment that reality doesn’t care whether we believe in it or not. It operates upon us regardless.

The Ashernet

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