The Comfort Of A Doomsday Clock

Being the sadomasochists we are, adding additional items to our doomsday shopping cart shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Famine, disease and pestilence, conflict, nuclear war. And now again, disease, pestilence. It only matters when it touches corners of the western world’s financial epidermis. Or should I say, epididymis?

Although Coronavirus is spreading rapidly, misinformation is disseminating faster. We’ve embraced a culture of ignorance in the place of erudition and objectivity, pining for feeling and emotive language instead of coming to terms with factual happenings. Post-truth or not, however you dress it up, we are nurturing ourselves into waves of intellectual destruction by culturing ignorance that pushes us towards the decimation of our species. Death by so-called advancements.

The problem with instant access to a pool of so-called knowledge is that the internet ensures everybody knows everything, but nobody is learning. We moved within close proximity of each other, though the maxim of ‘get to know your neighbour’ appears to have extraordinarily backfired.

Instantaneous access to multiple platforms where we can broadcast our inner-most passions, beliefs and desires stifles logical decision-making, where we respond to arguments we don’t agree with with hyperbolic knee-jerking reactionary statements. We upset our counterparts without concern for their welfare and spread misfortune and vitriol from self-sculpted minds. We are the creators of our own withering fields of backwardness.

Television (I will include mobile phones a subgroup of television) is fast becoming the new literature, but without the internal bells and whistle benefits flipping a page can bring. Energising crevices of sanctum within the brain is becoming much harder as we wave around our magic wands for selfies and on screen cheerfulness powered by the need to rocket blast away from mediocre melancholy lives of sitting around in front of the television in-between YouTubing and Instagram updates.

We are reading more but absorbing less through the exuberant colourful stimuli of social media. Many are collecting less than pithy data, gleaning and salvaging what they want. Debaters of today can convince the most learned of internationals. But this method of study, a 280-character read, trickles closer to buying the cheaper option, than quality.

It is no wonder the doomsday clock continues to fiddle with itself, ignored by a disbelieving number of the advanced apes we are. Although its accuracy is questionable, I would rather it exist, than not.

The inventor of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, had high hopes for it. And like me he still does. But as of today, its only purpose has been to supplement angry fascists and closet racists, like a line of cocaine to the warlord. We have misused a piece of technology that was once destined to bring us closer together. Instead we have used it to a degree of mischief and conflict.

In today’s Coronavirus plagued rock ball planet we live on, we shirk responsibility to talk seriously of encroaching disaster, and exposure to fictional movie storylines that parody fact are embraced. Many are more likely to reference cinematic plots than to delve deep into current affairs or discuss community risks. We now giggle at our own misfortune for its likeness to films with calamitous screenplays.

World leader’s heads are more than ever insecure, but more disturbingly, we the public imploded listening to the chattering bloodlusts of not only so-called superpowers, but each other. We convinced one another. For reassurance and for security and put our faces online in ‘profile photos’ like a craigslist advert that says ‘I am ready to be approached and be incorporated into a group that shares the inevitability of death and disaster, so we might as well make it fun in complacency’.

Dooms-day clock or not, I for one am content with the fact it sits atop our global living room, warning of the dangers we face so as to not fear taking on the challenges we create for our civilisation. 

My case is not to stop enjoying each other’s access to the joys that social media brings but to recognise and invigorate each other instead of carrying on with what we did before it. Because being one-track-minded will only push that clock forward or stop it altogether – for all the wrong reasons. We need to spend more time offline and see how brave we all are in the flesh.

Now we have all had our 15 minutes of fame, can we have the rest of our days without?