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Broodings on Possible Extinction

This is the first installment of a short series I’m calling Broodings on the End of the World.

Start: My wife is taking a nap, and I am at my computer in the relative quiet and I’m hearing the the whining of the wind in the eaves of the roof. We have reached triple digits (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or over 38 degrees for you Celsius folks) and between the wind and the heat, I’m flashing on imagery of being isolated and forgotten like some lone miner on a remote desert planet. It’s the kind of bleak moment that captures the forebodings of a grim future that have been nagging at me for about a year and a half now.

The Politics of Racial Suicide

As with my last post, it is not my intent to make this a political one, though there is probably no avoiding that side of it. I am not interested in discussion on who would have been a better president, because usually that sort of dialogue devolves into name-calling and trollery. Because of the bitter election race for the presidency, the revelations coming from outside sources about the inner workings of the Democratic party, the callous disregard for the rights of the impacted Native Americans literally trampled at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipe Line (by both this Administration and the last one), and now the current Administration’s characterization of anthropogenic global warming as The Chinese Lie and gutting of the American bureaus that are best able to measure and help us understand it … given all these things, and that our fine president seems to insist on amusing himself with a game of nuclear chicken against the lunatic dictator of North Korea, it has been a challenge (at best) to see any hope in the future.

Even worse, our nation’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord (which, arguably, may not be strict enough to accomplish the necessary objectives) sends the message to the entire world that the United States of America doesn’t give a damn about anybody’s future, including its own.

We are all in a train racing headlong toward a collapsed bridge, the engineers are feeding more coal into the boiler and steadfastly ignoring a map they know is accurate. Worse, the conductors are company goons and will defend the engineers with every weapon at their disposal, legal or not.

This isn’t a new problem. But our new leadership has dispensed with the token gestures and empty posturing we’ve seen before, and have committed themselves to lustily wrecking our environment with a gusto fit for rapists and serial killers.

Our leadership is out of control. The logical end is that they will destroy every single one of us.

We all know this.

If we let this continue, we will have failed. Our species will be an evolutionary dead-end.

Some of us actually use our consciences, but not enough of us. Some of us understand and practice true compassion, but not enough of us. Some of us see the ramifications of our actions and have changed their lives accordingly.

But not enough of us.

Visionaries have understood we require some kind of evolutionary leap; that the human race, if it is to continue, needs to become something better.

It’s an idea. A good one. But, as our dear Dr. Einstein noted, we’re not going to solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. We’re not going to become something better through lifting ourselves by our own bootstraps.

However, there are those who feel this leap is already happening; that there are new generations of souls who innately see what we lack, and have the spirit to do what we need to do.

I’m not betting the house on this, but I’m watching.

I seriously wonder if a significant fraction of our species has on some level embraced Freud’s Thanatos, the death instinct, and we are witnessing an attempt of racial suicide.

We are a species that has walked the Earth pretty much as we are for 50,000 years, and has, in the moments when it could listen to its higher angels, discovered the wonders of mathematics and architecture; painting, sculpture, theater; pure and applied science. We have found wisdom, both of the outer, and inner. We have discovered things of beauty, and utility, things that helped us understand ourselves, our world, our universe.

There have been over 107,000,000,000 of us (that’s “billion,” with a “B”). In only fifty millennium we have gone from fighting with bones to walking on the Moon.

Currently, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has the Doomsday Clock set to two and a half minutes to midnight. Some climate researchers give us only two or three more centuries to our own extinction.

We’ve come all that way, learned so much and done all these things, and much more.

Was it all for nothing?

Any mature human being, after living a decade or two, reaches a point where they realize they have to make peace with their own death. And here we are faced with the unthinkable, of making our peace with the death of everything we know.

For a couple of months now I had taken it for granted that we are heading toward racial extinction, and for a few days I was trapped in a place of utter bleakness, in a complete loss of hope.

Have you really looked at it? Have you really thought this through, and given it the gravity it deserves?

How does it feel to you?

How does it feel to be part of a species that by all appearances can’t find it in itself to pull its collective head out of its cavernous collective ass long enough to think about surviving?

How does it feel to realize that somewhere not many generations in the future your descendants may experience the end of our species?

How does it feel to consider there may literally be no long-term prospects for this thing called the Human Race?

How does that feel to you, sparky?

My wife is still sleeping, and it is still very quiet. The oppressive heat persists, and the wind continues to whine and howl in the eaves.




the feeling that something desired can be had, will happen, or that events will turn out for the best.

There is an important element that this definition regretfully leaves out. My good friend, writer and editor Jenny Bones, threw four words at me a few nights ago that have changed my worldview vastly for the better. Hope isn’t just some feel-good bit of fluff or a side-effect of endorphins or anti-psychotics. It’s something volitional, something we control.

Jenny said: Hope is a choice.

Hope is ours, freely. If we want it.

Consolation From the Woo-Woo Zone

Broodings on Possible ExtinctionOne more thing:

Let’s just say we can’t find it in ourselves to keep the Human Experiment moving forward.

What then?

If you’d care to walk with me out to the edge, I’d like to offer a hope of an odder kind.

I know that consciousness exists after death. I can’t prove this, but I know it with as much reality as the words in front of you are real. I’m not asking you to believe me (this is one of those things a person needs to find for oneself), but, for the sake of discussion, I’m asking you to accept this as a given.

I am also telling you there is a Light, and that it is possible, under conditions I do not fully understand, to enter into it while still living. This is something else I cannot prove, but I am nonetheless telling you it is true. This is the Light spoken of in Near Death Experience literature. I have seen this several times in my life, and I have even gone up a tunnel that opened in my mind to what appeared to be a higher level of being. I did not throw myself into the apparent bliss at the end of it, because I thought it would overwhelm me, and I would die.

For purposes of discussion, I’m asking you to accept this as a given, too.


So, if at some point a few hundred years from now, Earth can no longer sustain human life. What happens to our consciousnesses — our souls, if you will? The Hindu and Buddhist belief in reincarnation makes the most sense to me, but what if there’s no place to incarnate into? Or does it work that way?

I don’t know.

I suspect that up there, up in the Light, we merge into some aggregate consciousness, possibly even one consciousness. I speculate that the wisdom and experience gained from the Human Experiment will be added to the Great Feedback Loop of the Machinery of what we call Reality, and we will see something better than humanity arise elsewhere in the Universe. Perhaps some of the aggregate human consciousness will be part of that next experiment.

Naturally, it would be a tremendous waste if we didn’t apply that wisdom and experience and make something better here, right now.

So please. Let’s get it right, people. I’m losing all patience.

• • •

Copyright © 2017, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.


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Daniel Brenton is the creator/author of the 5 Second Novel series, co-author of the space race thriller Red Moon (with David S. Michaels), and is the author of the satirical column The Round Files, published in Stuart Miller’s short-lived Alien Worlds Magazine.

Despite being a writer, Daniel has no cats at this time, is unwilling to become an alcoholic, and has a very difficult time keeping a straight face while writing about himself in third person.

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