The Last Chance Dance at the Edge of Dystopia

THE LAST CHANCE SALOON is a figment of many a literary and music lyricist’s imagination, but the fact is humanity does seem to be propping up its elbows in just such a barroom these days.

Then, again, perhaps the neon-lit dance floors of the world’s saloons are full of fantastically positive personalities who will ultimately pull together as in times past and soon have civilization pointed back in a better direction. Perhaps the travails of the daily news do not present the truest picture of humanity’s overall situation. Perhaps, we are bound for utopia rather than hell-bent for its opposite — dystopia — as it seems from what is seen on the world’s media screens these days.

We cannot, however, take it for granted that the efforts of the few who are ardent supporters of utopian idealism will prevail against this widespread dystopian plunge, for there is an all-too-human tendency among people to concentrate attention strictly upon one’s own welfare in the present moment as opposed to exhibiting concern for the collective fate of humanity and rising up in unison. This latter tendency, quite unfortunately, is precisely what has given us the current climate crisis, created the horrendous reach of the pandemic when it came upon us like a biblical plague and, currently, the war in Ukraine.

The intent here, I wish to make clear, is never to add to the fearmongering that goes on in this troubled world of ours, but to help point humanity toward a better horizon. If millions of individuals adopt such an attitude, then humanity’s path might indeed be altered. It might move away from how we seem to be collectively creeping ever closer to the brink of catastrophic ruin. It might move us, once more, in a positive direction.

The reality of the situation, however, seems to be — certainly on the face of it — that humanity is indeed tumbling headlong toward dystopia and that thinking otherwise is such a long shot that one cannot but sit wondering what the hell happened to the beautiful world we once knew.

At a personal level, the answer to that, I hesitate to admit, is that the beautiful world I once experienced, apparently only existed in my mind when I was young and full of dreams. My self-interest was so great at the time, it appears, that what transpired is that I rarely paid any attention to any news shows in those days and that meant that the problems of others elsewhere on the planet were simply ignored.

Living in that way, I had a false sense of the state of things, but it was also what allowed me to experience the world as a wondrous and thoroughly enchanting place. Reality, nevertheless, kept intruding until, at last, I had to acknowledge that the world being purely a beautiful place was, in the last analysis, simply in the mind of the beholder — namely me — and so, little by little, my utopian visionary imaginings were shattered.

The only solace to be taken these days, as a result, is believing that millions upon millions of people in the world are still at a primitive level of spiritual development. This is not a haughty notion on my part, but a statement of reality, at least in as much as I can ascertain the state of things in this world from a singular viewpoint. I believe that we are on this earth to learn spiritual lessons and that it is only once those lessons are learned at a super deep level that they may be dispensed with once and for all. For me, violence and war are so repugnant, so repulsive, that I cannot understand how anyone can find them attractive in any form. Unfortunately, millions do and that is a fact.

With the evil, irrational, megalomaniac Putin threatening nuclear war once more, one can only accept that humanity is truly at the brink. How do we stop this heartless, ruthless fool? Is our only hope that this tyrant might have a sudden, inexplicable spiritual awakening? Or that a higher power of some nature might intervene mentally in this man’s cold, calculating deliberations in such a way that he will reconsider his strategy and pull back from his murderous, psychopathic ways?

What are we forced to make of the blackened, decimated cities, smoldering and in ruin, with dead bodies in the streets of Ukraine? I will tell you what: a very clear picture of dystopia, a sight that can only make one shudder. Should nuclear war ensue, the whole world will end up like this, which seems unimaginable, yet it is in all actuality quite possible.

Surely those in power at the Kremlin who are colluding with Putin are sane enough to realize that they, too, will be destroyed if Putin acts on his worst impulses, though, right?

I believe so. In fact, it is in this notion that those around Putin are still in command of their senses that offers us some vestige of hope. Surely, these men love life themselves and have loved ones they wish to shelter and protect, not see die at the hands of a madman who has completely lost his humanity.

We must trust that this is what will save the situation, for the love of life is the greatest of all spiritual impulses.

Here is why there is hope yet.

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