Things Fall Apart

Or things blow up. Every day.

Cover of Amazing Spider-Man #112
An iconic cover of a less-amazing story

So many thoughts. But the most prominent is the still-intensifying feeling that inflammatory phenomena have exceeded a critical threshold and the conflagration is going to burn at will, go where it wants to when it wants to—and there isn’t much for me to do about that per se.

The 10th anniversary is coming up for a jeremiad I posted at a now-defunct blog, proposing that things were becoming so bad in America that it was time to get out if possible. I don’t know that I have ever, since, really had second thoughts, but the conclusion right now feels intensely accurate.

Whether it’s an argument which has escalated to screaming and throwing things, or the European powers activating alliances and dispatching soldiers in 1914, there are points when the self-exacerbating effects of a clash get out of hand. I have believed for some time that America has passed such a point. We don’t have functioning systems to resolve disputes and solve problems.

But lately the problems and the disputes over them just seem like a constant series of explosions. It feels like I have to get clear of the explosions.

I recognize that this reaction is, itself, a discouraging sign. I’m haunted by a 2017 essay anticipating a near future in which “it will get really hard to do anything meaningful. In fact … the choices might become so difficult that even fairly good people will get wrapped up in short-term self-interest.” I have tended toward being hyper-engaged, relatively. But belief that there’s any hope for it to matter, even as “doing my bit,” is vanishing. I see similar shifts all over, as those who aren’t settling into a comfortable complacency are running out of places to turn for relief. What’s left at that point, except dropping out of the system or trying to smash it?

FWIW sounds like Greece will admit vaccinated Americans beginning mid-May.

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