It was a bad week for us Americans last week. Pandemics aside we are in a cyclone of awful.
Every civilization to ever rule earth has fallen. Every one. I remember having dinner with a friend in NYC. This person is hands down the smartest person I have ever known, on every level. Smart is sexy for me. He asked, “do you think our civilization is on the rise or at its end?”
To give reference, he is a 1st generation Pakistani-American. He was referring to America with this question and at the time it seemed so absurd to me. I was well out of my league trying to have a philosophical discussion with him but I tried anyway. Fool’s confidence has seen me in many a mind opening situation. I said probably on the rise.
Then he asked – would I rather be part of a civilization on it’s rise or at its end? I said on the rise. He disagreed with me on both points. But he made a particular point of ensuring me that our time in the West was at an end and like Babylon and Persia and Rome we would be seen in ruins down the road, very soon. Not immediately but in time, just like those great civilizations. And we bet on the nearness of the beginning of the end.
Every civilization has its dirty underbelly and it is this underbelly that fuels the furies, unleashes the chaos of self destruction. It seems sad that fundamental human rights will be our final battle cries. That seeing a human as a human regardless of sex or color or orientation could be the petty judgement day of our demise. Or that not ensuring, as a people, simple security, the ability to go to a restaurant, a concert, school and come home safely could be how we let our fates end. That one would hope at this stage of evolution the things that bring down a society would be loftier, more ethereal, purer.
Obviously, this is a metaphor and every day is only another day. And each day one of my true and consistent contributions is (and can be) to instill in my children the colorblind even mindedness of an enlightened society. One step at a time. It’s one of the few things I can do outside of feeling helpless.
I guess for now I can also say to my friend, whom I argued vehemently in difference to, that you were right. I owe you dinner. I can’t imagine a better meal or conversation to watch the world burn to.