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Talking About Death While In Decadence

Photo Source Diana Kelly | CC BY 2.0

Gunslinging Our Way to a Terminal Salvation

The word “decadence” means extravagance, luxury, and self-indulgence with a sense of moral decline. Most of us living in America live in luxury and extravagance with the opportunity to self-indulge compared to many humans and non humans around the world. I know things are bad now for many Americans and navigating through life is stressful and harrowing, but these times we are in will feel like a Disney movie, and the luxuries we currently have access to places us in a sort of Disney World trance we get admission to.

More people are punching their tickets to their personal Disney Worlds out of fear of death and while sensing a moral decline with what Western Civilization has imposed on this planet.

When the latest United Nations report came out on indicating we have just a decade to get climate change under control, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported starting in 2040 we will see a world with worsening food shortages and wildfires, and mass die-offs. We read these articles, and then retreat to our decadent Disney Worlds, also known as our smartphones. We tweet, text, post, Skype, and snap these stories to show we are “in the know” about our civilization’s and species’s pending demise.

What I have been thinking about lately is those of us paying attention to Abrupt Climate Change and the Sixth Mass Extinction… are we really “in the know”?

Yes, we know we have been given a terminal diagnosis, but what are we doing with that terminal diagnosis? If it’s just posting on social media, using our smartphones, and continuing our life the same way we had before getting the diagnosis then this is the equivalent of curling up in a ball and waiting for our death while actively denying our death. It sounds weird right? But it goes to show just how good this culture is at denying death while urging it on.

Only in Western culture would there be a term “mid life crisis”. This symptom of decadence finds elderhood repulsive and youth tranquilizing. It’s so tranquilizing that insane Oligarchic inner Disney World’s include human-growth hormone pills to try and live to 120 years old and “getting transfusions of blood from a younger person, as a means of improving health and potentially reversing aging.”

When given a terminal diagnosis like cancer, friends and family will quickly have the terminal person do the things in life they have always wanted to do “while they can” which means before their health really deteriorates. This is pushed because it brings meaning to the terminal life, even though it shall soon die.

If we love someone with a terminal diagnosis, we cherish every moment we have with them, we want to bring meaning in their limited life so death comes with peace. Why aren’t we doing this with Mother Earth and the terminal humans and non humans while we can?

We need to do this now, while we can get food and water without shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, or killing one another to survive. The fact that we can use green paper or digital numbers to buy whatever goods we would like. The fact that many of us live in homes we can heat to keep us warm, cool to cool us off all while having running water is something younger generations won’t be able to fathom. These are the good days of the apocalypse.

The words “terminal” and “fragility” go together hand in hand. We see the fragility of life in a terminal death. Terminal lives can end any day. This terminal set of living arrangements could end any day or any decade, along with our species.

In all this fragility we need to see where lies our abilities. Our ability to look at death and feel life. Truly feeling life in these times will require us to be “gunslingers” against capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, fascism, and racism. A gunslinger is “a person who acts in a decisive manner especially in business or politics, as an investor who takes large risks in seeking large, quick gains.”

We can’t live life in increments when our lives are in a terminal stage. We need to take large risks and seek large gains especially in the political realm. We must shock this system of death to bring us life even if it’s for a fleeting moment.

Instead of tweet out we should walk out. Instead mass post on Facebook we should mass protest. Instead of texting let’s start talking. Instead of snap let’s strategize. Instead of active our smartphones let’s activate our communities.

If we do not start changing the way we handle bad news about our living planet the terminal end of our species will be synonymous with shooting, stabbing, looting, kicking, and punching one another until the very end.

When someone has terminal cancer at the end we want to bring them peace with their death. It’s about hugging, holding, laughing, and crying with that person. Thinking about the beauty of their life while letting them die beautifully.

We could do this for our species and our planet because the planet and every living being on it has been infected with stage four cancer from industrial civilization. My fear is we won’t do this, to bring us life let’s bring death to this system. Having a community could give us a chance at impunity from the fascist mutiny that is coming. So let’s decisively take big risks in our lives so we can seek large quick gains against this system. Let’s be gunslingers!

In a recent talk I attended in Portland, Oregon given by Chris Hedges he said, “I don’t fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they’re fascists.” When talking about standing up to this system of death even in a terminal life I say I look at death in the eye and fight it not because I’ll survive, I do it because I feel alive.