Agnes Callard: The End is Coming

Agnes Callard in The Point:

Probably this is not the end of the world. But a plague is creeping around the globe at a seemingly exponential rate, killing some of us and affecting all of us. And this pandemic is only the most recent and most sudden of a series of afflictions facing humanity. We are rapidly replacing our natural habitat with one that is, on the one hand, made by human beings, and, on the other, proving difficult for us to manage—a situation we euphemistically refer to as “climate change.” On the political front, the past decade has seen a rise in civil unrest worldwide, and the leaders of a number of countries have given us reason to be less optimistic than we used to be about the prospects for global democracy. Given the ever-cheapening technology, weapons—including those of mass destruction—must be proliferating unnoticed. And all of the above is happening against a backdrop of low economic growth and stagnant wages, at least for most of the world’s wealthiest countries.

We may not have arrived at the end, but we have certainly arrived at the thought of it. Medical, environmental, political, economic and military problems seem to have joined forces to remind us that the story of humanity is, at some point, going to draw to a close. That’s a very painful thought to have. It also raises a serious philosophical problem.

More here.