As You’re Reading this, Civilization Is Collapsing Around You

As You’re Reading this, Civilization Is Collapsing Around You

Okay, maybe that’s sensationalism.

It might be happening very, very slowly, but it’s true.

Entropy is real. Everything slowly slides from structure to disorder. Your couch at home, your car, the cells in your body, and every government that has ever existed.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m far from a pessimist. I believe in the beauty of life and that people are good. I’m a hippie at heart. My greatest desire is for people to be happy.

But imagine for a second, that as you sit reading this, the process has reached it’s peak. On the civilization level. Maybe you’re at work, maybe you’re running errands. . .


The power goes out. Everyone looks at each other subconsciously for support, strangers and acquaintances and loved ones alike, as their focus has gone from the mundane thought freight train to the slightest hint of worry. The status quo is quivering. You make little jokes or annoyed sounds to lighten the mood.

An hour goes by. The power doesn’t come back on. Everyone is shrugging and chuckling and heading home. All the stop lights don’t work and you lurch hesitantly forward at intersections, trying to make it through unscathed.

At home, the power isn’t on. It’s comforting to be in your haven, but it feels different without technology.

You check your phone for news. People are on social media saying they don’t have power across the country. Your heart starts to pick up the pace. You want to know what’s causing this. You want to know why. But all the information networks that could have told you do not work. Eventually your phone will run out of battery.

Hours go by. Nothing changes. You read a book, or eat some food in your fridge quickly, trying not to let too much cold air out.

You start to think about loved ones. Where are they? Are they safe? How can you contact them? You try to call but the networks are down.

What’s the next thing you do?

I think I know.

power-outage-during-hurricane-sandy

You get in your car, or whatever you use to travel, and go. You go to the homes of the people you love, you want to know they’re safe. You don’t want to be alone. It seems stupid that you would be apart from those people you care about.

Storefronts are being shattered and looted as you pass by. No one is hurting anyone, but the law is starting to unravel. Your heart is now rocking in your chest. Why did you wait? Were you just waiting for the power to come back on? What if something horrible is happening? What is life going to be like if this is permanent?

Your life, in a moment, has shifted from wondering whether to buy organic ketchup or not, whether you should forward a coworker for help on a project or just do it yourself, wondering if the new episode that’s on tonight is going to suck, hoping you get a chance to kick back over the weekend. . . Into questions like what is the world I am living in? Where are the people I love? Who am I, really, without everything that has become my life?

How big of a hug would you give the people you love when you see them? How far would you go to try and find them if they weren’t home? Who should you go to see next? Should you all gather together, for safety, for love, for the future?

How meaningless is the little shit we wrap ourselves in, thoughts of the future and the past and the everyday drivel of our lives, and how important are the simple things like who are we as people and where are the ones that I love?

One day, they may not be rhetorical questions. Let’s hope it’s not in any of our lifetimes. In the meantime, take a deep breath, remember what matters, and let go of all the crap that’s spooling up in your mind.

-Evan Pickering

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