I worry a lot about the world ending. My scenarios usually involve some kind of catastrophic climate change, pandemic virus or global economic meltdown followed by civil collapse. This intermittent tendency to fret over various doomsday is something I try to deprive of oxygen, partly because the more room I give to it the more it tends to fill me with anxiety, and partly because it feels a bit embarrassing. I mean, who lets themselves get weighed down by this kind of vague foreboding?
Happily this week I get to feel embarrassed not by the foreboding but by the vagueness. The doomers of the moment aren’t generalized worriers like me: these are people on a clock, and their clock says tomorrow is the End of Days. On May 21st, the thinking goes, we’re going to get Raptured up. Well, I guess not “we” — “them”. I’m getting left behind with the rest of the unbelievers. Add that to my list of worst case scenarios.
The job of being a reasonable person, as I see it, includes considering the possibility that you are wrong. So tonight I find myself thinking: what if all this Rapture stuff is on the money? What if this really is the last night of the world?
Do I want to spend the last night of the world blogging?
Well, actually….yes. And it’s for reasons that go well beyond the prospect of this imminent immolation, and speak the broader range of apocalyptic scenarios that preoccupy me on an ongoing basis. Here goes:
- Live by the sword, die by the sword. I know there are people who think about what they’d do on their last night on earth, and come up with a whole list of things that feel meaningful or extraordinary — fly to Paris to watch the final sunset from the Eiffel Tower, or make love for the last time. Those sound great, but can I blog about them? Because if I’m living my life the way I want — and if blogging is a part of that — then I’ll be pretty happy living my last day like the preceding 365. And if you wouldn’t blog (or tweet, or Facebook) on your very last night on earth (or at least, during your very last week) then maybe you don’t want to spend so much time doing it now.
- What if God has switched to electronic records? We are all so used to the idea of the final judgement taking place on the basis of some notional book of judgement, or just your basic omniscience. But what if divine record-keeping has gone electronic? Judging people by their last blog post, tweet or Facebook update wouldn’t be a bad way to go. And Rapture or no Rapture, we’d all hold ourselves to a higher social media standard if we continually asked ourselves: what if my eternal fate were going to be based on the last thing I blogged or tweeted?
- We’re going to be together for a while, so let’s get acquainted. Some relationships are forever; some aren’t. That’s the rationale that shapes who I friend on Facebook, who I keep up with on Twitter, and who I reach out to via email. But if I really thought I was going to spend an eternity with all you folks, I’d want you to know something about me. And if some of you are going to get Raptured up with me — well, it’s nice to have this last chance to connect. Connecting with the people I love, or with people who I might not even know but could somehow touch: that’s what blogging is all about.
- Make your final words count. The idea of a universal End of Days is very dramatic, but for each individual it comes down to this: you’re not going to be here tomorrow. (Or if you are, it’s bad news.) Blogging — like any form of creative expression — is a way to leave something behind. To think that you may be writing a final post, taking a final picture, recording one last video: these are all ways to sharpen your practice, to say what has so far gone unsaid, to share what you haven’t been brave enough to expose. Chances are that this is the very most important thing you could say — whether the world ends or not.
- Maybe it’s not the last night. Any solid plan for The End has got to account for the possibility, however small, that we won’t get Raptured (or pandemicized, or irrevocably climate changed) after all. If we’re all here tomorrow, I’m going to keep blogging. And I don’t want my stats to take a beating in the meantime.