No Time for Angst

A few weeks ago I was sitting around fretting: What should I do next with  my career? Go for another book? Write short pieces? What about? And for Whom? Blah. Blah.

And then I picked up a class—and all of the ensuing, yet fun, chaos of creating a new course and keeping up with papers and readings and trying to individualize it all for my students—a goal that quickly took front-and-center. No more time for angst. At least for the moment. Kind of a relief, I guess.

But it made me wonder: Do we all stay super busy to avoid thinking about bigger questions? Like, where we are going in life? Or, what is going to happen to all of the elephants, and monarch butterflies, and polar bears, and coastal cities in the next 30 years.

Our daily distractions are keeping these worries at bay, at least for the moment. The poor disappearing butterflies . . . ack, it’s too sad . . . I’ll go check out the latest wacky kitten video on YouTube.  Angst is by nature uncomfortable. Yet discomfort is what prods humans to do something, much like the demons of hunger force us to eat.

Some of my students wonder whether we have actually crossed the Threshold to the Apocalypse—with the specter of Global Warming, and virus-laden bee colonies, and mass shootings, and bizarre natural disasters with the suffix ‘mageddon’ attached. And I tend to agree. Maybe we should look back to the Fall of the Roman Empire for a cautionary tale. What does it matter if the core is imploding if we all have Bread and Circuses.

 

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