Apocalypse averted!

Apocalypse averted!

By Jonathan Roseland

Perhaps you remember about a decade ago the impending apocalypse du jour was that all of our honey bees were dying for some mysterious reason and that we would all be screwed because a bunch of the things we eat are pollinated by honey bees.

There were a couple of very alarming documentaries made about this - after watching them, probably like yourself, I walked around for a couple of days pretty worried about the honey bees.

We all reached a pretty high cultural tolerance to impending disaster predictions around the turn of the millennium. The documentaries, books, TED talks, and various colorful prophets of doom have so thoroughly convinced us that we’re just a few minutes to midnight - collectively waltzing on the deck of the Titanic before a grand and terrible civilizational lights out event - that many of us have a blasé cynicism about the future.

Many have turned to Nihilism and hedonism

Instead of planning to raise children or contribute meaningfully to their community, they only care about maximizing hedonism and comfort in the short to medium term. They give up on the future. This is actually somewhat rational; if "the apocalypse" is going to happen in the next 5–10 years why would you do anything other than selfishly spend every moment you can as hedonistically as possible?

hedonism doomscrolling
 What you think hedonism is going to be like.  What hedonism is actually like.

We all know people like this. I think of an old friend that I had a long lunch with in Prague last year. He’s quite successful and getting married to this great girl he loves. He’s the kind of guy who frequently posts photos on Instagram of himself doing fabulous things. I asked him about their long-term plans for kids, and he was totally closed to the idea. He’s convinced that the world is so utterly screwed because of climate change that it would just be an unforgivable act of cruelty to bring offspring into the world.

When holidays come around and you reconnect with family, loved ones, and old friends you'll often find that some are indoctrinated by fear porn and quietly drowning in Nihilism. I'd urge you, especially around the holidays, to give the gift of reminding people that life is beautiful and that in general, the world is getting better. For example…

The good news about the bees

A very clever researcher has figured out, more or less, how to save the bees. Mostly colony collapse disorder is due to an invasive species of nasty little mites that go by the apt name Varroa destructor, they suck bees' blood and spread diseases that kill off many of our little yellow friends in beehives. The Varroa destructor epidemic is likely a downstream effect of the pesticides, proliferation of antibiotics, and myriad ways that humans radically change the environment.

Varroa destructor

Luckily for all of us, a researcher found a fungal mushroom extract, Metarhizium anisopliae, that naturally kills these evil mites but doesn’t harm the bees. So apocalypse averted -  decentralized, skin-the-game science has saved the day yet again - bravo sir!  The researcher who discovered this is a serious herbal Biohacker. Check out this interview with him...

You probably spend a lot of time thinking about the future, that’s natural, as do I

There are three different types of thinking about the future...

  1. Emotional — This is short-term thinking about the coming weeks, months, and year. We want to have a productive week. We have a work deadline to worry about. We want to avoid the stress of drama with our roommate or whoever. We are moving to a new neighborhood or company. It’s mostly about the emotions we are pursuing or avoiding in the short term.
  2. Thematic — Thinking in the medium term about the themes and stories that we imagine playing out in our future lives. So this is generally positive thinking about the careers we want to pursue and thriving in our personal lives. Traveling the world, finding love, kicking ass in your career, starting a small business, writing a book, becoming famous on Instagram, etc.
  3. Legacy — This is real long-term thinking about how we want to leave the world better than we found it. This is thinking about what kinds of things you would want for your children devoted to doing when you are one day gone (baring the invention of some spectacular life extension technology). Or thinking about what kind of impact on the world you would want your business to make when you are no longer capable of working there.

There is a fundamental difference between the third type and the others. Thinking critically about legacy is thinking about a future that you won’t even experience, but endeavoring for it to be better for others. It’s a selfless mode of thinking and an increasingly rare one.

Homework assignment for this weekend

Meditate in a Cemetery

Go for a stroll in a cemetery (I bet there's one not that far from you) WITHOUT your smartphone; spend a little time contemplatively practicing legacy future casting with this question...

What could you be doing NOW to improve a future that you’re not even going to experience?

Buzzing optimistically,

Jonathan Roseland


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