So now it really will soon be over. What's over? Well, everything. The needle is pointing to the apocalypse: the end of the world, so to speak. If you peek at any news portal, you'll definitely notice: The end of humanity is just around the corner. It's only a matter of time before we're all gone from the planet and the method we use to achieve this. We have some effective levers at our fingertips.
Sooner rather than later, the climate catastrophe we have caused will mean that we will simply no longer be able to live on planet Earth because it is far too hot to do so, while at the same time there will not be enough drinking water and food anyway. We will have long since eaten what we so prettily call livestock and otherwise - see water - there won't be much left to feed livestock or fill our hungry bellies.
TOO LAZY TO READ ON? THEN LISTEN TO ME!
In the blogcast, I read this recent blog article to you. With emphasis, of course!
Or we blow ourselves out of existence by way of our amply stocked arsenals of weapons. If not planned, then perhaps through a fault in a system that we like to call those conditions we have created and for which nobody wants to take responsibility. Somewhere the alarm bell rings, the warning light flashes, the sirens wail and the protocol drawn up for this case is obediently executed. The button is pressed because no one is on duty this time, no one of the caliber of Lieutenant Colonel Stanislaw Petrow, no one who doesn't do what he is ordered to do, but is the only one who wisely does the right thing: he doesn't trust the system and thinks with his own head, listens to his gut and files the protocol away. But Comrade Petrov is unfortunately off duty, and so a cohort of well-behaved, order-receiving protocol workers trigger a nuclear war. What do you mean? The ultimate one, because everyone who can joins in. It was just another false alarm, like back in September 1983, but one minus Lieutenant Colonel Petrov. So everything that we shouldn't have trusted blew up in our faces and that was that. But there were only 99 balloons on the horizon.
Or, because it suits our ears, which we shouldn't trust. The same now also applies to our eyes. Even if it's funny to admire the Pope in his sharp white down jacket, even if Angela Merkel amuses us on the beach with Barack Obama - we don't know what will become of AI, but we definitely know one thing: if this magic tool gets into the wrong hands, things will get tight. And it would have to be a devil's bargain if it wasn't already in the wrong hands of some sorcerer's apprentices who are shaking Pandora's box with feverish zeal. They leave no stone unturned to get as much out of it for themselves as they can, to grab what could be in it for them in anything and everything. Because, as we have learned through three great stories that we have been telling ourselves as humanity for a long time: what you have, you have, the winner takes it all and more is better. Instrumental reason dictates success stories to us, the success of which is paid for, among other things, by the fact that humanity no longer exists because "... the spirits I called ..." and so on. Or rather: no further, because this time the Old Warlock doesn't come to the rescue in time. Not Lieutenant Colonel Petrov anyway.
Cause of death climate, war or AI? - Please check all that apply.
Doesn't it look as if we have reached the beginning of the third and final act in the history of mankind? There, where the heroic figures in all moving dramatic stories, from Stone Age campfires to Hollywood blockbusters, stand helpless in their ultimate despair and, in the face of obviously inevitable failure, suffer through that phase known in dramaturgy as the "all is lost moment" or "dark night of the soul". This is where the course is set for the direction in which the story will now enter the home straight. Is there a flash of inspiration, a moment of enlightenment, an introspection to understand that what we want and want and want leads us away from what we need? Is there consequently a turnaround towards the happy ending and do we continue on to the subsequent homecoming - more refined, wiser than before and rising a little above our ego, hanging out a little beyond the edge of our own plate?
Or is Wilhelm Busch's prophecy in the Max & Moritz case "But woe, woe, woe! When I look at the end!"? So let's turn towards tragedy, learn nothing, dispose of ourselves and thus ensure a catharsis in the tradition of Aristotle in ancient Greek drama: the hero perishes from his hubris, the audience learns from it for their own lives. In this case, however, with a slight deviation from the original concept. The cathartic learning effect for the audience fails to materialize because there is no longer an audience. The audience has long since become part of the action. Paulus Manker would have had an orgiastic time with this "show biz ans Ende", while Karl Kraus is currently writing the remake of "Die letzten Tage der Menschheit".
If we look around us, we can hardly find any evidence of an outcome other than the tragic one for the history of our species called man, on its journey from the Tertiary to the Anthropocene, often referred to as a hero's journey. Our third and final act has begun.
Everything back to square one?
You can see it that way, but you don't have to. I certainly don't have to, because as an optimist out of self-defense, I have hope on principle. As far as I'm concerned, the pessimists should be right in the end, but as an optimist, I'm guaranteed to have a more enjoyable life until then.
So what if we - human beings - were not experiencing the third act of our story here and now, but just the first? And we do in sufficient numbers and strength what sets a wonderful story in motion in the first place, namely setting off into our great, long time of probation, into the second act?
Do you remember The little story ABC?
A B C - Departure, Probation, Comeback - as the lowest dramaturgical denominator of every story?
Departure - from the familiar world. Everything is fine, everything is familiar, but there is a problem, an injustice, something hurts terribly, pushes irresistibly or calls out unmistakably, so unbearably that the fear of the waiting unknown is smaller than the discomfort of remaining in the familiar. The heroine sets off. Because she is driven, one way or another - also by a lurking catastrophe.
Proving yourself - in a new, unknown world. With all the ups and downs, dangers overcome, fun and games, enemies defeated, friends made and, above all, grown, matured and transformed thanks to the knowledge gained.
Comeback - to the old world. The all-important proof of effectiveness is now provided when the hero character returns to the old world, when she can show whether she has learned something and if so, what. Whether they have grown as a result, whether they have even returned as a better version of themselves and can share the preciousness they have learned with their own.
Isn't it conceivable that everything that we are currently feeling so painfully, that stinks and roars like the end of the world, is in fact and truth nothing other than the urgent impetus to break away from our accustomed way of life, which is so unbearably difficult for us and the planet? Is the pain perhaps great enough in time for us to finally break out of the world of fighting and defeating, the winner takes it all and more is better? Maybe this is not the end of humanity, but the end of over-indulgence, where we buy things we don't need with money we don't have in order to impress people we don't like (© Tyler Durden | Chuck Palahniuk)?
Perhaps what many of us fear as an impending loss and want to fend off tooth and nail is actually a thorny liberation?
Yes, what if our story were only just beginning, if we had just experienced the first act and could now embark on the second, on the trials and tribulations of a new story, a NEW STORY?
Into a new, a big, a better, a real story that we can share with completely new narratives and stories and thus bring movement to people and people into movement. Towards a better future in which we support each other instead of fighting each other. A future in which we want to live and want our children and grandchildren to be able to live there, to experience it at all. A future of enabling instead of today's present of preventing and playing each other off against each other. A future of cooperation, of mutual support, of understanding, of building hearts. In this future, we will no longer have to try in vain to fill the vacuum of meaning in ourselves, in our companies and in our society through consumption and material growth, i.e. through the exploitation of resources. Meaning will emerge there of its own accord, as it were.
This is guaranteed not to happen quickly. The second act is always the longest in any story. That's why we need to think in terms of generations, and we need like-minded people everywhere. In education, in business, in politics, above all in so-called civil society, we need leaders - leaders like these wonderfully committed people, many of whom are already at work there today; people who, with a hot heart, a cool head and a steady hand, don't chortle out a quick answer to everything, but ask the right questions. For example: What would happen if we stopped sacrificing comfort and freed ourselves from excess?
And it's high time we ditched the shreddingly stupid story that "the endangered survival of humans on planet Earth" is a thing of the past. Humans are part of the planet, not inhabitants. The planet is not a sphere on which we and a bunch of critters run around and plants thrive, but a whole. The sea is not a mass of water with corals, algae and (still) fish in it - the fish, corals, algae and the water are the sea in its entirety.
That would be new stories, a new perspective, a new option: the NEW STORY that we urgently need.
This story also tells of hope, and that fits in quite well with Christmas. After all, the idea of Christmas as a festival of light could also be, quite independently of religious beliefs, that with every child that is born, hope comes into the world that through this child this world will become a better one, and even be saved.
Hope dies last, they say. I say: hope lives first. For example, that this child is already here and looks like you, or like me, or like us, that these children will tell the new, relevant stories well and that they will be shared by enough people to change things for the better. Because: change the story and you change the world.
So instead of painting renunciation, loss and despair on the wall, wouldn't it be more worthwhile to share the story of liberation from too much? To tell the story of what we would gain, each and every one of us and all of us together? To paint a picture of a world in which we no longer obsess over the things we are obsessed with owning, but instead write "love people, use things" on the banner, as Bishop Fulton J. Sheen put it a hundred years ago.
If we are clever and tell our new, our better story of humanity correctly, we are only at the beginning of its wonderful second act.
That's another reason why my grandmother, old Story Dudette, dressed up as an angel in a dress that was a little too short and brought the good news to the astonished shepherds in the field: "New Story. New Glory."