Is this a good world? The question comes upon me like an unwelcome visitor on a day as clear as unblemished glass. My mood thrashes like a fish in a bucket. Is this a healthy world? To grant myself the opportunity to ponder this question in the fullness it deserves, I pause what I am doing, which is watching an endlessly looping video of a delicate, blue-veined hand with cream-tipped nails spreading green jelly polymer over a broad ceramic tabletop. Is this a good world? Is this is a healthy world? Is this a good—
The shadows of our time speak volubly to the crowds, standing in puddles of light with microphones close enough to kiss. They talk truth; they talk lies. Either way, it doesn’t matter. In the audience, I try to drown out the speech by turning up the chunky dial labeled “white noise” in my mind. I do this more and more, these days. I zone out and find it harder and harder to return.
Is this a good world? Is this the world prior to doomsday? How long can we live here—living too well, at too outrageous a cost—before something reacts? Is this a healthy world? What if it isn’t, and what if we can’t get better? What if we don’t want to? We know there will be no mercy for our behavior in the future. How long can I ignore the signs of the ritual about to take place?
The more I think about current conditions, the more I feel myself come apart. Zoning out feels like wedging my body into a crack in the wall while a storm voids itself above me. Zoning out feels like a safe haven. I struggle, in plain sight, to keep all parts of me connected and, when I fail at that, I retreat into that gap in the wall where I can’t hear the thunder anymore, where I don’t have to negotiate to keep my body together. Looking back now, I realize I have favored this response for far longer than I should have. The zone lives somewhere in me now.
Is this a healthy world? To heal it, I’d crawl into the blood-splattered center of a pentagram. But I’m not the medic. I’m not even the victim. I’m a symptom of the disease.