happyponyland.net / The Anti-Christ will arrive within 5 years

The Anti-Christ will arrive in

N years, N days, NN:NN:NN

I was out in the woods the other day, minding my own business, when a couple of Poles showed up. Super friendly dudes, really. Hard working types, probably well deserving their day off. They kept offering me sausage (when Poles offer you food you are not allowed to refuse, regardless how many full meals you already had) and beer (I don't drink alcohol). I had built a bonfire just before they arrived so there was a nice bed of hot coals, but they preferred to stick their sausages in the open flame. Doesn't anyone know how to grill these days?

Anyway, one of them had some deep theories and kept asking me what I thought of “the state of the world” and telling me that, with all the horrible shit going on, we are in fact living in the end times and that the Anti-Christ would arrive within 5 years.

“It's in Revelations!”

Apparently the Anti-Christ is in Israel right now, biding his time. Fortunately, “papa” — the guy kept gesturing at the sky — had a plan for everything and everyone, but I had to study the Old Stories to understand it. I couldn't quite pin down what denomination of crackpot he represented. Quite likely there was some anti-Semitic spiel brewing (I'm well enough disconnected from the abrahamic sphere of reasoning to care for that kind of talk). He also tried to string me along with talk about “black men” ruining society (specifically, Somalis running the drug trade, which they very well might be doing, but it's still white kids buying). He wasn't even very drunk. At least we could agree that “they” have been, and keep, lying to everyone, though we might not have been on the same page just who “they” actually are. Anyway, I had come to that spot seeking peace and quiet, so I soon excused myself and wished them dobry wieczór.

(There is a weird duality in Poland, where — even though the country suffered under Nazi Germany — it's still moderately ok these days to be fascist, since they hate Russians and communists even more.)

The end is nigher than ever. Or is it? Almost every culture has a doomsday myth. People have always believed they live in the end times. Yet every prediction about the end of the world has been wrong. We keep giving this “soon, very soon” talk too much merit. Regardless if someone is making a personal threat or a global projection — if their only argument is “just wait and see”, they're talking shit. War and pestilence are not proof of the end times; they have been intertwined with human history, age-old byproducts of urbanisation that paradoxically have also spurred economic growth and technological advancement (to the extent you can consider these good things).

I too understand that, at some point, the last human is going to die, but our undoing will probably be something we can't even anticipate today. It's not necessarily a bad thing, though. There is no greater purpose to us being here and no higher force, for good or worse, that cares in the least what we make of our time; we're just glorified apes. The wheels keep turning and ultimately we don't matter.

I'm not being teenage-faux-misanthropic here, in the sense that the world is better off without humans or that people deserve to suffer and die. However, I have been struggling with anxiety for most of my life and constantly thinking about the various ways everything can go wrong hasn't helped me in any way. Accepting that I'm here purely by chance and that my existence doesn't need to fit into any grand scheme has really been a relief and saved me a lot of effort from worrying. I'm not special and I like it that way.

I have PTSD (professionally diagnosed!) from some rough experiences in my youth. I have been deathly terrified of things that turned out to be bogus and I've worked hard to learn to live with a dysregulated fight or flight response. In addition to this, I still have practical, real-world problems to deal with like everyone else. I don't have time for pseudo-nihilistic, fatalistic fear-mongering from sociopaths and alcoholics.

There's not even any leverage to be had; they gain nothing from proclaiming their vague, yet inescapable, promise of doom. There is no remedy, refuge or redemption offered, just the certainty that the world is going down in flames and an apathetic “haha, you're fucked”. They only want to spread their poison.

Perhaps it is the same kind of mean streak seen in gay bashers (“you people are going to hell!”), bigots (“I hope your daughter gets raped next!”) and even anti-vaxxers (who promise all sorts of calamities for those foolish enough to inoculate themselves — promises that ultimately fall short, while on the other hand the consequences of preventable diseases are well known). Something seems broken in these people. They live in fear; perhaps their greatest fear being that they don't matter and they try to compensate for this through making broad, dramatic proclamations. They're obviously struggling to relate to others (if they genuinely did not care, they wouldn't try at all), but utterly fail to establish any connection or safe space, instead enabling cult leaders to rein them in.

I don't enjoy disaster movies. My life is a disaster already.

What's the deal with people? They keep trying to bond with me over the weirdest things, usually some crazy racist bullshit. I was at a concert and some skinhead approached me (I went to see Katatonia, who are not controversial at all, but Marduk were playing the same night and they attract a bit of a different crowd). He kept asking if I was “angry” and dropping references to a neo-Nazi figure. Nah, I'm just here trying to enjoy the band. Another time, some nerd at a demoparty started ranting to me about Russian hookers and Roma people. Come on — we were at an extremely niche event for retro computing enthusiasts. Surely there must have been something better — anything — to strike up a conversation about, that we actually had in common and would have given me a positive impression of him.

I realise these experiences are somewhat a consequence of a) me having a very militaristic look — which comes with the mixed blessing of ordinary people keeping their distance, but unfortunately also attracting the attention of people that misattribute my views — and b) hanging around inebriated people, which is something I do not particularly enjoy but is difficult to avoid entirely. I don't usually take offense with a happy drunk, but I have very little patience for those going into paranoid ramblings or try to drag me down some political rabbithole.

Some are just aggressively “friendly” in a very unsympathetic way and there is a fine balance in being just polite yet indifferent enough to lull them along peacefully. I don't very much appreciate having my night ruined by having to tell some xenophobic fuck to get lost. I rarely feel physically intimidated but there is definitely a risk that this could be the day their lingering delirium starts acting up and they will simply snap. Given the choice I will endure drunken banter (that occasionally goes to horrible places) and leave the full-scale meltdowns for someone else to deal with.

I retract the above; I changed my mind. I'm tired of talking people out of bad ideas. One time I ran into a coworker in town. He was really drunk and kept muttering under his breath about his ex having a good time with her new date, two tables over, expressing a wish to engage this person in fisticuffs. The next time a situation develops — that I do not have a personal stake in — I will encourage the parties involved to see it through. Go and defend your honor, bro. Prove to your ex that you really are the controlling asshole she saw you for and was right in leaving. I won't back you up in the fight, but I 100% support your desire to get your ass kicked and go to jail for assault.

Then there is the exhausting string of edgy dudes that are always up for discussing free will, quantum physics, the totalitarian threat of feminism or some other non-issue they feel obliged to crap out a half-formed opinion on. These aren't loose cannons or outright loons, just annoying dorks that consider themselves “over average intelligent” (because they know words like ad hominem and false dichotomy) and harbor the faulty notion that freedom of speech entitles them to an audience. Skimming Wikipedia for 30 minutes doesn't make you a philosopher; you're not going to come to any conclusions that previous generations haven't. Give it a rest already.

They will assume any crass position under the guise of being provocative for the sake of discussion, but only regarding things that do not affect them personally, while they can mean life or death to others. They're not well informed, nuanced in their arguments or even entertaining to listen to, just dead set on proving their point at any cost. Failing this, they will deliberately drive others to anger to discredit the other side as unreasonable and incapable of having a civil discussion. Unfunny troll is unfunny.

These dudes, in their quest to turn any social occurence into their personal debate club, assume they come from a position of absolute neutrality and are adamant about never “picking sides”, which by default means that in any conflict they side with the oppressor. Despite how much of free thinkers they deem themselves, they always lean towards “traditional” values and seem impervious to any truly radical ideas. What if racism is real and you just never experienced it yourself? Well, it's— What if we stopped recognizing private property? But you can't— What if — youare — actually wrong?


ADMISSION: I am, in all fairness, quite capable of stirring shit myself, having at times engaged in discussions I have had no serious intention to settle. It has largely been due to other unresolved, personal disagreements and as a way to distance myself from people that have taken themselves way too seriously. I have been described as condescending, even by very old friends; I have also sent friendships into decline through satirical remarks that I believed too over-the-top to ever be taken literally. There might be a companion issue to this: people having spent too much time “debating” these know-it-alls, normalized their vehement behaviour and learned to assume the worst characteristics about others. Maybe it's age that brings out the cynic in us. Maybe it's the ambiguity of electronic communication. Maybe human relations are complicated. Maybe I'm just an asshole sometimes. Who knows.

InterestingThe wifi didn't work. I wonder why.

P.S. II (see, I know some latin as well): I was in Kraków, staying at a shitty hostel. It was the cheapest I could find that would still give me a room with a key; an experiment in low-budget travel I wouldn't care to repeat. The place was basically three apartments connected by shady-looking hallways, accessed through what seemed to be a maintenance stairwell (the lights were out and there were a bunch of warning signs). I was completely alone the first night, but on the second day a super sketchy guy showed up out of nowhere asking me for smokes. Having slept poorly and unwilling to get involved in anything, I simply told him nie rozumiem and he left — hardly an unusual interaction in a European hostel — but the thing that really stuck with me was just how dirty he was. He was obviously white, but completely covered in grime, with bright, shell-shocked eyes. His clothes were clean, though. Given the state of the shower in that place I guess I can't blame him, but he could at least have washed his face in the sink. He looked like he had been tanning in old motor oil. Just another day in Poland, I guess. I didn't know what else to make of this anecdote, but here it is.