Friday, August 09, 2013

Today's Blessing


Am I the only person troubled by the fact that Vladimir Putin, former KGB colonel and master of the gangster paradise that is present-day Russia -- and so, obviously, an exemplar of mental and spiritual health -- might just wake up some day and decide he wants everyone to die? Because, you know, he could make it so. I think of that every day. So far as I can tell, nobody else ever thinks about it at all. Stephen Covey would approve -- after all, there's nothing we can do about it; why trouble our little heads? But given all the much less likely and smaller-scale catastrophes that people obsess over -- oh my God, there's a puddle at the North Pole! -- it seems odd to me. It's true that it wouldn't be in Mr. Putin's rational self-interest to do it, but if that brings you great comfort, you have not read very much history.

(I do worry about the established fact of global warming and the train of disasters it's going to cause. But I only hope we avoid the Last War long enough to have to deal with them. Really, you know, things are far worse than most people think. We're storing up a whole raft of environmental disasters for ourselves. If I lived in Africa or the Middle East I would be doing anything, anything at all, to get myself and my family out: I think the disasters will hit there first and hardest.)

I am, of course, much given to gloom, when thinking on a large scale, and I must remind myself that when I was a teenager I confidently expected ecological disaster, and a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and China, and other wars over the remaining stores of potable water, to break out within a decade. Most of that didn't happen.

Dave Bonta commented, "you are the most cheerful doomer I know!" I guess it's because I start from such a dark place. Also because I'm just a pretty cheerful person by nature: I wake up to a new day and think "Oh my God! It's so beautiful, another day of amazing people and a breathtaking skies, and there's eggs and bacon and coffee, and women so beautiful they make you trip over your feet on the sidewalk, and friends who just won't stop writing heartstopping poems and painting gorgeous pictures, and -- we made it another day, Vlad got up on the right side of bed too, apparently. How's that for a blessing?

8 comments:

Zhoen said...

Russia has a Stalin every generation. Just a matter of how much leverage each one gets, and can therefore get away with.

"Well, aren't we all having a great time considering we're all going to die one day!"
-Steve Martin.

Dale said...

They have been terribly unfortunate. I don't understand it: they're a lovely people. But their timing is off, or something. It always seems to break bad for them.

rbarenblat said...

Oh my God! It's so beautiful, another day of amazing people and a breathtaking skies, and there's eggs and bacon and coffee, and women so beautiful they make you trip over your feet on the sidewalk, and friends who just won't stop writing heartstopping poems and painting gorgeous pictures, and -- we made it another day, Vlad got up on the right side of bed too, apparently. How's that for a blessing?

It is a tremendous blessing, if you ask me. :-) I am grateful for all of those things, too. (Also beautiful men.) (I'm just saying. :-)

Dale said...

:-)

Kristen Burkholder said...

I often consider that where I live - Maine - could just well be overrun with 1/16 of the world's population in less than 50 years if things continue the way they're going. And then, "Vacationland" is gonna have to face up to all its latent xenophobia and racism. All this to say, I am a cheerful doomer myself and you just gave me something to be VERY cheerful about: bacon! No, I mean Putin. ; )

Dale said...

:-) xoxo

John Leopold said...

I'm sure Putin has his own problems. He probably has to worry about what Obama will do. The thing is, any major world leader could wake up, upset and grumpy, and basically end the world. But most don't seem to have the guts, which is probably good.
If you look at the history of Russian art (including literature and music) there is a much deeper sense of happiness and sadness than Americans are normally exposed to. Everything is mournful. Solemn is a good way to describe it. Based on their art, I'd make a broad stereotype that Russians are much more connected to their tragic past, and current emotions than the rest of the world is. Maybe that's way Putin won't do anything. He has enough to worry about.

marly youmans said...

I really hadn't thought to worry about this particular issue, despite Putin's obvious energy and discipline and long time in power... What would I do without you, Dale?

It is a lovely world. Let's hope nobody messes it up any more than is usual.