Why at times I feel like renaming our blog “Dispatches from the Hell Realms”
By E.F Nicholson
Writing about news and current affairs, be it US foreign policy, climate change or national politics, it’s hard not to feel that it’s just a constant analysis and critique of the everyday events in our human-created hell. Of course, in Dante’s inferno I don’t inhabit the most horrendous parts; I write about world events in the comfort of my western plush democracy. Yet the fact I don’t live them doesn’t take away the fact they exist. This hell realm of planet Earth I speak of has numerous layers and aspects. I can just rattle off some figures about life for the majority of humans living in abject poverty in the third world to confirm its existence. Be it life expectancy, disease, starvation, working conditions, war, enslavement and just the immense hardship billions of people endure just to get by. So we could leave it at that and easily conclude that a world where the majority of people suffer so unnecessarily is grounds enough to say this is a hellscape. On top of this, whatever luxury and privilege I enjoy is on the backs on an oppressed majority, creating what can only be a poisoned chalice, loaded with some kind of eventual collective karmic payback.
Then there is a kind of crazy aspect to the times we live in. When a cult of ego veneration, with the silent consent of the majority, has created a scenario where our technical advancements and progress is ensuring our complete species extinction, be it via global warming hitting its tipping point or a global nuclear winter. All the while, 87% of people either dislike or hate their jobs, which really is akin to saying they dislike or hates their lives, as minus sleep, for most of us, our jobs are our lives. Then with the money we make through the dreary grind of meaningless work, we then use on addictions and amusements, ensuring we can go back and do it all over again. Until of course we retire and slowly die. Meanwhile in a kind of stunned distraction, we just go on consuming, watching TV, heads down to our smart phones as the bus of humanity speeds up to the cliff edge.
Yet we do our best in the midst of this to love those around us. We endeavour to be positive and make the most of a bad situation, as mostly we feel powerless against the enormity of the societal and economic machine. Yet sprinkling the icing sugar of positivity on a turd doesn’t take away its smell or foulness. I know it can come across negative or bleak (which are now unspoken no-no’s) but I think “hell” is a very accurate word to describe the majority of people’s lives and just how utterly bat-shit crazy this world has become.
What makes it even worse is the fact it’s not reflective of the basic goodness that exists within the majority of people. Sadly that asshole you remember from school, who nobody liked, well, he is the Prime Minister now or the head of the Reserve Bank. Decent people overall don’t tend to dedicate their lives to the acquisition of power and control; they are too busy just being decent people. So as I go back over the last 20 articles I have written on this blog I could easily title them all “reports from the damnation of earth” or “news from Hades”, as fucked up or unfair just doesn’t capture how messed up things really are.
A friend of mine recently told me that he thought that humanity was passing into the Kali Yuga, (a kind of dark ages in a 24,000 year human cycle) which started with the genocide of Indigenous peoples 300/400 years ago. As empire began wiping out the last civilizations whose existence was still anchored into some greater connection of spirit or being, that was reflected in the relationship to the earth and each other. That knowledge still exists but by and large its hum is extremely faint against the deafening noise of ego and insanity, which just seems to be belting out wherever you go.
Maybe hell was never meant to be seen as afterlife; rather it’s the result of living a life of unchecked and unfettered ego. When we separate ourselves from each other, we position our pride and me-ness at the centre of what drives us, and we inadvertently make a hell on earth. In truth I don’t believe in evil people, rather just degrees of ignorance. Then when the delusionary state or depth of ignorance becomes the default or “go to” reality, we have the insane and self-imploding world we live in today.
So in response, all I can do is attempt to be “in the world but not of it”. I keep vigilant in all matters by being caring, loving, conscious and kind. To keep pulling myself back from the kind of reality I can get sucked into makes me feel separate, disconnected and hopeless. But as hellish this world may be, I can still do my own small deeds of rebellious dissent through acts of love, selflessness and service. Then I can try passing on and sharing to the best of my abilities that love with those in my immediate environment, or with anyone choosing to read this blog.
To return to the bigger picture: This may be a “hell realm” but that can change. We crazy humans made it, so we can unmake it. We must remember that it is not the only realm that exists. What a different realm is, I have no idea, but for now I’ll have to be content with being the best rebel in hell I can be.