I wake up every morning at 3 a.m., plus or minus 15 minutes. Every morning, since August of 1979, the terrors come. The forever-empty feeling in the pit of my stomach greets me. Perhaps you have it, too.
I awaken at other times, too, typically about every three hours. But nothing matches the precision of my three-o’clock internal alarm, regardless of the time zone I’m visiting.
I know almost everything is beyond my ability to control. I know there are many things I can’t fix. Most of them are beyond fixing, whatever that means. The others are beyond my ability to fix, whatever that means. And, as with most of you, I want to leave the world a better place than when I arrived here.
So far, my record isn’t that great. I was born into captivity as a first-world human. That right there is a helluva burden to shoulder.
I’ve got a lifetime of conspicuous consumption in my rear-view mirror. It’s not pretty. I’ve got “must go faster” ringing in my ears. I’ve got Mother Culture whispering “success” and “money” in the same breath, yet I know better. I’ve known better since August of 1979.
What is one poor, conflicted, privileged, Caucasian man supposed to do about abrupt, irreversible climate change on a polluted planet? That’s the nagging question. That’s the never-ending, forever-empty feeling raging at my nonexistent soul at 3 o’clock every goddamned dark morning.
Enlightenment is a curse. How can I push it away? How can I switch off my relentless mind, when the problems and predicaments keep piling up?
Obviously, it wasn’t abrupt, irreversible climate change nagging me in 1979. That’s merely the latest cabal of demons haunting me in the early morning. But too many humans fouling the nest on a planet we’ve made way too small has been on my mind for a very long time. The Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth hit the streets when I was 12 years old. Our collective response — demanding more, better, faster at every imaginable cost, forever — has been working fine, so far, for some of us. To assuage our mental health, it’s best not to think about those for whom it’s not working out. After all, you surely can’t expect one poor, conflicted, privileged, middle-aged Caucasian man to fix everything.
What am I making better? Why am I here? What is my purpose? These are the questions emanating from the forever-empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
It’s 4:33 a.m. now. I just want to sleep. I just want to turn off the noise. I just want justice on a beautiful planet. It’s a lot to ask, I know. It’s too much to expect, I know.
Thanks to my volunteer booking team for seeking additional volunteers in support of my speaking tours. If you would like to host me in your area, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve received several requests for a workshop focused on emotions for people who accept the evidence underlying our near-term demise. Such a workshop is described here. It is generally available at the homestead I occupy in Belize.
I’m featured in a video series that airs now and then. Catch all released episodes of the Guy, Fawkes, and Jamen show here.
My latest book is available in audio, and can be purchased here. Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time is intended for ages 11 and up.
Mugs, tote bags, iPhone cases, tee shirts, and other pragmatic goods affiliated with the book are available here