World on Fire

Camp is away in the big city today for a book event. My chance for a monologue. Every day when I wake up my phone dings and beeps with depressing news flashes on the one side and quirky WhatsApp messages on the other side, plus emails, more daily news, bills and the odd personal note. Depending on how I feel I thumb first through the humorous stuff, add my smilies, thumbs-ups or hearts, then move on to the calamities of the day. Today: A mass shooting in a Jehova Witness temple in Hamburg; intense missile attacks rain down on Ukraines infrastructure; Tiktok app banned from all Canadian and British government phones; visa denied to Chinese diplomat on security grounds and on and on. The best one was a new book by Trump: Dear Donald, a collection of letters from politicians and celebrities. Everybody apparently loves Donald. 

We all know that we live in a perilous world, divided by extreme politics, increasingly ruled by narcissistic and deranged autocrats and dictators whose hubris will turn the world to ashes with their names inscribed in the blood of their enemies who are more often than not their very own people. It’s an increasingly volatile balancing act between ideology fueled by draconian restrictions and laws, protecting the thieves (oligarchs?) against the common people, and the mostly peaceful arbiters of normalcy and decency.  The toxic and violent rabble of extremists spawned from the basket of deplorable ignoramuses are hijacking governments and agendas everywhere with the help of social media. Religion has always played a big part in the wars of the world. Whose god is mightier and whose doctrine the one true one? They are all cults, as Fidel Castro pointed out 80 years aga. One of the few things he got right. 

Who do we trust while our world is on fire?  Our politicians, our neighbours, our spouses, our own minds?  Who has the facts and who tell the lies? I tend to listen to those who have seriously studied an issue, peer reviewed the salient points, tested and verified their data rather than to those who shout the loudest and promise punishment and dubious rewards. Like the preachers of old who promised hell fire and damnation to their flock of sinners. Give me statistics, tables and graphics every time rather than opinions and prejudiced views and righteous attitudes. 

At this point I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet. I go back to my WhatsApp messages. Pictures of sunrises, exotic foods in far off places, selfies and photos of pets and babies, happy hour meets at the local pub or just greetings from friends and family. Time to get up and seize the day.I try to keep my head above water, try to make sense of our complicated and wonderful world and I try to be an optimistic realist. That usually gets me past breakfast and then I try to be busy with chores, shopping, cooking and maybe a walk or a bike ride. A beer with a friend is always a great diversion. I also like having somebody listening to my gripes and meanderings who doesn’t always agree with everything I say. I’m talking about my lovely wife, not Camp. She is my window to reality and my rock and anchor. Without her I am just another floundering soul, another carbon unit lost in the cosmic soup

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