This is How the World Ends…

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The T. S. Eliot poem “The Hollow Men” talks about the disappointing nature of human beings and ends  with a dire four lines quoted more often than any poem’s end in the history of poetry.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Now I have revealed this particular truth more than once.  I am not prescient.  I am an idiot.  And the only things I know for certain about the future are that I will die one day, and so will everyone else.  But knowing those things  is wisdom.  Especially the idiot part.

And I can see how things are progressing.  I know what people are like at their core.  If humanity is doomed to die out in the next century, or even the next decade, it will not be because of nuclear war.  It will be something sneakier, quieter, and more permanently lethal.


It will be the fact that people are capable of heartlessness and cruelty.  Adolf Hitler turned the full power of government-focused hatred on those he defined as less than human; Jews, gypsies, gay people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the mentally handicapped.  He used that focus to burn those peoples out of existence.  But many forces in the human character rose up to shield the victims, saving some and avenging the others.  Hitler learned the hard way that he was not the end of the world… from a bullet, in a bunker, having lost an empire.

Now, the Republican clown show in the United States is turning into Killer Klowns from Outer Space.


They show lack of concern for anything but corporate profits.  They will undo Medicare and cancel the Meals on Wheels program because, according to evil leprechauns in charge of the budget, we can’t afford to feed people, or educate people, or do anything to dry up the painful ocean of poverty capitalism is creating.  No, we must bury our pots of gold and any magic they have left in them.

They have changed the laws on environmental protections to allow themselves to profit by pouring pollutants into rivers and water supplies.  They pull out of world-wide agreements to work towards saving the environment from climate change.

They may have found a way to focus hatred through the lens of indifference.  Hitler’s mistake was in thinking most humans could be manipulated only through fear and hatred for those who were different.  Trump’s troll army has added stupidity and greed to the lenses the light can be filtered through.  And so, they may well succeed where Nazis failed.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.




Filed under angry rant, humor, insight, pessimism, politics, self pity, sharing from YouTube

5 responses to “This is How the World Ends…

  1. Mickey, frighteningly good post. What we need to shout at the top of our lungs is what is happening right now, not in the future. The impoverished and disenfranchised are most impacted by environmental issues, such as climate change. They tend to live in areas that are very fragile or abused by those with means. Plus, corruption stands in the way of money to fight these concerns.

    Bangladesh moved hundreds of thousand of people inland from fishing villages due to encroaching seas. Yet, no one raised any concerns. We have a global water crisis, yet our politicians don’t even talk about it. The apocalyptic setting for games the kids play usually imply a nuclear fallout. Truth be told, the more realistic cause for these settings is our planet running out of sufficient fresh water and food for our growing population.

    That is the whimper that could occur. Keith

    • You hit upon things that I wanted to include in this post but left out because it would put me too far over my 500-word target. Thank you for always making such keenly insightful comments. You add depth and understanding to the conversation every time. I am impressed.

  2. When Jim Morrison from the Band “The Doors” sang “when the music is over he was almost prophetic. I quote from it

    “What have they done to the earth?
    What have they done to our fair sister?
    Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
    Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
    And tied her with fences and dragged her down”

    We need more people like you to raise awareness on the issues plaguing our own existence, the corporate greed and the majority poisoning our life. We gotta keep up the fight.

    • Thank you for your encouragement. Beautifully used lyrics too! I always appreciate when literary allusions are used effectively for a good cause. You are right. We gotta keep up the good fight.

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