I’ve recently converted to doomerism and it’s a nice match. As a former Catholic, I’ve already internalized the whole concept of guilt at birth and doing penance for transgressions. The commandments sort of itemize the cardinal sins and there are equivalents within the doomer cult.
What I really like about “our” brand of doomerism is that it’s data driven. We incorporate science from different disciplines.
The conclusion that our species and probably most of the species on the planet will go extinct in our lifetimes is based on logical, reasonable assessments given the data on climate change, over population (aka overshoot) and peak oil (actually peak everything). All of those things by themselves may or may not cause human extinction, but what ensures it is the 440 nuclear power plants around the globe that go Fukushima without the electric grid. We are Fuked. We call this Near Term Extinction (NTE).
Merely getting past all of the denial mechanisms we humans are so adept at took me years. As you begin to accept what the data is telling you, you go through fairly predictable stages: terror, rage, bargaining, rage and…..whatever else is next.
I find myself in this new stage. I’ve gotten really quiet as my mind is racing around, testing and probing for hidden exits, salvation from any quarter, while at the same time questioning everything I’ve ever been taught and every assumption I’ve held about our past, present and future.
As you might imagine, melancholia pervades.
Layer in the knowledge that, by virtue of birth, I’ve contributed to these insurmountable problems. Virtually nothing I can do to change my lifestyle will render me a zero impact person. Other than immediately committing suicide – not yet acceptable to me – all I can do is to try to mitigate my presence as much as possible. Oy, but there’s the rub. How far do you go? And, if extinction is inevitable, why bother?
All of which explains why you have to tackle some big questions. Is there any such thing as morality? What do I believe? How do I live my life in the face of NTE? What are the most important things to me? Where did we go wrong? Who or what is to blame? What are the likely scenarios for how this all happens? Can you prep for apocalypse? How do I want to die? And, in that last moment of consciousness, how will I judge myself? By your actions, you shall be known.
Which brings me neatly to the afterlife. I’ve rejected pretty much all of the Catholic dogma…heaven and hell are perhaps useful conceptual devices to teach right and wrong, but other than as pure metaphor, it’s useless. Karma makes some sense to me. Are our physical lives all there is? Perhaps. Probably. But not necessarily.
I’m open to the possibility that something like a soul or energy goes on – recycled perhaps – but goes on in different forms. We humans have done everything we possibly can, especially here in the “developed” world, to remove ourselves from our natural habitat. I think this removes us from the possibility of knowing another way to look at the world and to experience it on another level.
The other possibility is that the best I can do is contribute my best effort to the eventual compost heap the planet will become.