Updated: Jul 27, 2021
For the longest time, I've taken issue with the phrase, "I don't care- I'll be dead." I've heard it from religious and non-religious alike in so many different contexts that it boggles the mind. It wasn't until recently, while watching an end bell turn round and round at work, that I really came to understand why it is that this turn of phrase gets under my skin so much. I don't get triggered by the phrase, I just find it utterly distasteful, in the same way I found "On the Beach" distasteful. If you're not familiar with "On the Beach," I'll give you a quick synopsis.
WWIII happens via nukes. Australia is the only continent not covered in lethal doses of radiation, but that radiation is slowly moving toward the land down under, and people are starting to lose hope. An American sub shows up. They hear broadcasts from Alaska, and believing that maybe the weather patterns are shifting and people are surviving in Alaska, the sub departs- and discovers that the signal is a pre-recorded message. Everyone gives up, and rather than die of cancer and radiation sickness, everyone commits suicide.
It's bleak, hopeless, and utterly retarded, just like "I don't care- I'll be dead."
That's what grinds my gears about this saying- the mentality of it. The decision by the person who utters this phrase that they have no agency and no capacity to affect the world beyond the three foot length of their arms. The apathy and disregard for the future of not only our nation, but our species fills me with pity for future generations. The phrase has no semblance of altruism, not even a passing vernier of compassion for those who will come after. It's entirely self centered in the now, and in the id.
I do care what happens after I die. I care that after I expire, the ideals that I fight for remain even though I do not. That my great, great, great, great, great grand children will be able to exercise the rights and privileges that I enjoy today. Those things matter to me, and I want those grand ideas that our nation has championed to remain for eons if possible. And yet, there are those who "don't care, because they'll be dead" who continually undermine those ideals by living today and giving a rats ass about tomorrow. Pass the buck, sit down and shut up, watch TV and drink away their cares, allow the slippery slope to become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Maintaining these ideals, and doing the best we can for those generations that will come after should drive much of what we do. But it doesn't. We don't think in eons- we think in election cycles. The next congress- next president. We've drawn lines in the sand that needn't be lines and based our decisions along short lived and fanciful ideologies that long term- won't survive. And in the interests of my great, great, great, great, great, great grand children, I am forced to draw a line in the sand as well, and put my energies in alignment with my heart.
That's why I ditched Patreon. That's why I don't purchase Chinese goods if I can help it. That's why I believe in the second amendment AND renewable resources AND taking care of the environment. That's why my wife and I home school. It's why we remain conscientious with every decision we make up to and including vaccines. It's not about being anti-this or anti-that. It's about being pro-mygreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgrandkids.
Four billion years from now (approximately if the science is accurate) our sun will die, and with it the earth. No amount of environmental science or carbon control will stop that. No amount of hashtags will dissuade the sun's demise. No protesting will have an effect. Riots- the sun doesn't care. How we move forward will dictate whether or not mankind survives this impending event. I will be LOOOOOOOOONG gone by then. Nothing of me will remain. Not a memory of me, not the words I'm posting here. Maybe not even my genetic material in the form of those great great great great great grandchildren. But that doesn't mean I don't care about it. It really does matter- even though I will be all but erased from history.
It's easy to get caught up in the moment- caught up in the trivialities of our daily lives. Work, school, our favorite shows and our hobbies. And that's fine. Sometimes we need to check out and reset ourselves. Life should be fun and fulfilling. But Life should also continue. Our species shouldn't ever have a final chapter- or if it does, our species should have a say in it. Or at the very least, leave a scar so wide and deep that the universe will forever remember the species that called themselves humans.