According to the “Internets,” 'angst' rears its ugly head when one feels apprehensive for the world and its future. Sorta like a more encompassing ‘anxiety’—pushed to the nth power to include fear for all life forms—combined with the all-consuming lure of a far-fetched vision of a smidgen of hope.
Angst hasn’t been much of a problem for me of late. During a year of debilitating Interferon/Ribavirin treatment back in 2005/06, I did listen to a lot of leftist talk radio, which turned me into a different person. Not only was I laid low by physical anguish, but I also became upset with every perceived wrong I observed around me. I had become a drag. The fix was to not listen to a particular station.
It wasn’t a matter of suddenly being made aware of what was out of kilter with society. I had always harbored leftist thought. And, to the extent I could, tried to live my life accordingly. But the inundation of all that negativity had created a miserable guy.
The ills of the world are now so overwhelming that I wonder what one person can do. Momma X has remained on the front lines of environmental activism, now with a group that, in addition to trying influence government, actually searches out funding to purchase open space for permanent protection, bypassing many slower-moving machinations of legal entanglement. Direct action, so to speak.
I still manage to write a ‘letter to the editor’ every now and then, and support Momma in her endeavors, helping her edit articles and engaging in functions geared to the environment— but wonder again—why? Younger people don't seem to be getting involved with the established groups. The local Audubon Society looks like an old age home, as does the Sierra Club. Where is the next generation? I know of existing high school enviro clubs, but the kids seem to get lost once they get to college age. Life must get in their way.
In some sense, I would love to go back to a younger age. But thinking one step further, I wonder if I could do as well in this chip-oriented society we’ve shifted to. When I was young, with the proper education (which cost much less than now) we could pretty much go into any field we wanted. Now, kids fresh out of college don’t have that luxury. Those with basic degrees are competing for fast-food jobs. Whatever will the future hold for those like me without a college education?
What does the future of the world look like? In some ways, Momma and I are tired of beating our heads against a wall of capitalist abuse. But where are the troops to follow upon our heels? They’ll be dealing with a dire situation where machines accomplish many of the jobs once done by humans. Their ways of living are on the line, but on a very basic level at such a young age, with virtually all their lives yet to live. What is to be their future?
So just this morning, I’m reading the paper and see an article that tells me this year’s Columbia River salmon run may be depleted by up to 80%, due largely to drought and high temperatures in the greater Northwest. Elsewhere in the world, elephants are on their way out from poaching. Ditto for the tiger and rhinoceros. In fact, we’re witnessing a mass extinction to rival the demise of dinosaurs.
Maybe it’s better not to think.