By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
As the US empire continues to escalate aggressions against both Russia and China, as Moscow warns that “strategic nuclear weapons” may be used to protect the territories it plans on annexing from eastern Ukraine even as Washington prepares to ramp up its proxy war spending in that nation once again, as nuclear-armed powers which refuse to compromise with each other accelerate toward direct confrontation with nobody’s foot anywhere near the brake pedal, it’s probably a good time to pause and re-evaluate our priorities in life.
One who is sincere and courageous about having an authentic relationship with reality will take seriously the very real possibility that this could all be ending fairly soon. They will face this possibility directly and let it inform the way their humanity expresses itself in the world, rather than compartmentalizing away from it and avoiding it.
It’s just a fact that based on what we know about what nuclear war would mean for life on this planet and how we’re hearing more and more often that we’re now already closer to armageddon than we were during the last cold war, humanity as we know it may not be around for much longer. Our end could very well come not in millennia or even centuries, but in months or years.
And we can just be real with ourselves about that, and let it shape the way we live our lives.
To be clear, I am not telling you that you should do this. Life is hard, and there’s only so much we can each deal with. You are under no obligation to directly confront humanity’s looming proximity to nuclear annihilation and let it inform your life if that’s not where you’re at right now.
But I’m not pointing toward this line of inquiry to make people depressed and despondent; just the opposite in fact. For those who are willing and able to face our situation where it stands, it’s a useful object of contemplation which brings up a lot of highly relevant questions about how to better live life to its fullest. Questions that kind of demand answers.
Questions like, would I be happy with the way I’ve been spending my time lately if it turned out that tomorrow is the day the ICBMs start flying?
Would I be content with the things that my interest and attention have been focusing on, not just in my outward expression but silently in my mind?
What would I wish I had done? What would I wish I had done more of? What would I wish I had stopped doing?
Are there any chances I’d wish I’d have taken? Chances on love? Chances on life? Things I’ve held off on saying to people because it would require making myself more vulnerable than I am comfortable?
Am I happy with who I’ve been spending my time with? Have they been making the experience of this life more fulfilling than it would be without them in it, or less? Are they the people I’d want with me in the end?
Has my political energy and attention been spent wisely? Have I been focusing on the most important issues I could choose to focus on, knowing that nuclear war could be right around the corner? Or have I been getting lost in vapid partisan bickering, sectarian infighting, or dopey culture war distractions?
Have I done everything I possibly can to prevent a nuclear exchange between the US power alliance and Russia and/or China? Could I have helped draw more public awareness to this supremely important issue?
Have I been doing my best to really be present in each moment, or is my attention mostly consumed by my churning mental monologue? Is there anything I can do to spend more time in the present instead of in my head?
Am I really relishing my time here on this earth? Appreciating the thunderous beauty which surrounds me? Treasuring my encounters with my loved ones? Cherishing the sensory kiss of each moment? Adoring this world while it lasts? What intentions can I set for myself to help me really live this terrestrial life to its fullest?
Have I been living a life of truth and integrity? Have my behavior, speech and thinking aligned with what I know to be true? With what I believe to be valuable? With what I think of as an authentic human being?
Only you can answer these questions for yourself, but they do deserve answers. Whether this turns out to be the home stretch for humanity’s run on this planet or not, these are good things to come to terms with and integrate into our way of living. Whether we all say goodbye together or whether we end up saying goodbye separately, eventually we’ve all got to say goodbye.