It is always the cinematic aftermath of societal collapse you see in the movies, tv, and literature. You know those 'ones'. You probably saw a fair share in theaters, or on your big screen smart televisions.
The narrative often the same, with grim detailing the decayed ruins of a once-powerful but crumbling monument to a world past, more often nearly forgotten…
Then the story starts.
But you don't often hear of the early days of the collapse. Of a society on life support sucking resources and energy from the lowest forms until they, themselves are mentally broken and lost. The bottom tier in the cake of life before the fall. When you can't imagine that there is more to come.
Was it the pandemic that broke the proverbial camels back? Or was it the random and numerous social divides played out in printed word and gif on social media bringing us all closer together? A melting pot of minds overflowing, boiling over, taking us further from peace than ever?
Was it the politics and the politicians, or the rich corporate rape of the general economies of the world? The flagrant misuse of resources and labor across the vast oceans pushing wider the growing divides? Or was it all of it?
There are no heroes in this narrative. We have not yet fallen far enough.
There is no room for a hero when everyone has a voice crying out to be heard among the throng of the fearful and afraid. We have no true leader.
That was 2020 and it was only the beginning.
Where were you when it all came undone?
As the threads of culture loosened and frayed knots formed in societies seams?
The faces of the 'illusioned' soon became 'disillusioned'. In overwhelming surrealism, the masses put their heads down and disconnected from their neighbors and family and reached out digitally. Firmly locked into their devices with the backdrop of seeming calm in the comfort of their homes as the crumbling began.
It was quiet then, wasn't it?
But it is not the buildings that are falling apart, not yet. That is not where we are in the narrative. And this is not the story of everyone at this stage in the process.
Some are already hungry. Many are without homes and refugees in their own communities be it from fire or snow. Now seen as a problem to be dealt with, a financial burden, and even a wound to grind salt into because of events of past months that divided us all more.
Those misplaced experiencing a cold reality that they are now counted among those that only months before were seen as troubled and different from themselves.
To sit on the receiving side of a FEMA blanket handed to you by a relief worker because of something you didn't believe in does not yet shake the foundation of pride and hope. Not enough has been lost yet.
Maybe when there is no one to hand you even a bottle of water will it then sink in?
The seams of the fabric fail…
Did it start at the beginning?
The moment we took breath were we doomed?
It had to have been before there were cries in the streets chanting 'No justice, no peace.'
Somewhere between the smoke and ash of the fall fires, and broken glass of the Capitol Riot, the fabric is tested to the fullest extent.
Perhaps some think it started with paint and lines. Amidst tear gas and screams. Or the lies we were fed half a year before in regards to a foreign illness striking the elderly and immune-compromised. Only it can strike down anyone.
It had to have been before that. But where was the first dent in the foundation?
Scrolling through news feeds the clinging society we interact with the decay and the chaos in a bubble. A place to view the decline while telling ourselves we are safe, and only participating in it through the digital arm. The extension of the human mind manifested in technology. It may seem small but the impact is great and terrifying in its own lens, and the impacts are almost unseen to the one who hits.
Arguments explode in the hollow silence of the portal page. The only sound is the fingers as they furiously click away at the keyboard, and it is there you can see a thread pulling. The weakest point and Achilles Heel.
"Law is reason free from passion," Aristotle said. This statement forces me to look upon social media as a lawless place, for, so many of us have not learned how to see our passions reconciled with reason and calm.
In fact, we were encouraged to passion. A generation ill-prepared for the world we found ourselves a part of.
As children, we never knew how high the cards were stacked or that they were stacked against us. Dumped into a era we did not expect and that manifested almost within a single generation… However, ignorant that our lives still depended on that precarious house of cards of the past.
Now the deck is falling, and the casualties are littered around us.
Political corruption, systemic racism, localized and global climate change, social unrest abound, and too many weak cards to count. As fallen boards are picked up by collecting masses now as totems of change and movement, a fallen card waved like a battle flag against our fellow victims. Our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and coworkers as if they are the enemy.
Things needed to change, but is it too late to salvage idealism? Have we gone too far?
It's 2021 now, but the troubles of 2020 still hang over us like a caustic cloud of volcanic ash that will come low again to choke breath and bring us once again to our knees.
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.