The Easy Place

The Quest for Self Awareness One Moment at a Time

The End of the World…Again

Cold War Propaganda Ad, Good Housekeeping Magazine

Image by Mr. Beaverhousen via Flickr

When I was a sophomore in high school my geometry teacher, Mr. Clawson, told us that he believed that within five years the world’s population would be annihilated in a nuclear war.  

You might think that this would have caused some fear, maybe even panic, in a group of 15 year olds, but we all pretty much just sat there and considered what he’d said. 

Looking back I’m appalled that he made such a statement to us, and I’m amazed that my reaction was just to make a mental note to wait and see if it came true.   Sadly, it made sense to us – it had only been five years since the Cuban Missile Crisis and we were right in the middle of the Cold War.  We had grown up on duck-and-cover drills in preparation for just such an event, the Soviet Union loomed in our minds as an evil and predatory enemy.

Today we have new predictions of gloom – global climate disruption, struggling economies all over the world, new predictions of total annihilation in 2012…the list goes on and on. 

But in reality, no matter how dismal our future looked to Mr. Clawson, his theory was merely something he chose to believe.  Whatever had predisposed him to predict, then calmly wait for, catastrophe, I’ll never know.  But I do know that his view, and the fact that he shared it with his high school students, was destructive and harmful.

We choose our perspective, we choose the message we bring into the world and carry in our hearts.  We decide if we spend our days in fear and helplessness or join the efforts to fix what’s not working. 

And if you think your contribution, whether it’s predictions of failure or efforts to uplift, don’t matter, just consider the fact that even after all these years I still remember Mr. Clawson’s words.


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