Start at the End and Work Backwards

1 April 2021
Swing - End Beginning

What if the worst-case scenarios for the environment and for nuclear weapons actually happened? What would the world, as we know it, be like?

At this moment, the environment could be heading in a direction where, even as we try to alter our course, the momentum for pollution might be too great. Too much investment for too long to be reversable! Oceans full of plastics rise, along with shorelines. Fresh water becomes ever more precious. Out of control populations cannot be fed. Most species die. Viruses outrun vaccines. Wars, in multiple forms, are waged not for glory but for survival. The world overheats. The end!

At this moment, nuclear weapons are being retooled in the name of modernizing.

Once, one nation had the bomb. Then two. Then three. Now nine and counting. All predicated on the perfectibility of human beings to handle these weapons without making tragic mistakes! All of these weapons were created to be used, and when they are used, then what? Humans are vaporized. Farms and drinking water are drenched with radiation. Life is without a hiding place or a future. The world freezes. The end!

We hardly have a language for the end. Poetry or Holy Scripture might aid our imaginations. For instance, “For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created …” “But in those days, after the suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven…”

When we start at the end, we inevitably are driven ever backwards to the beginning.

From this perspective – seeing from the end to the beginning – we have oversight and thus the responsibility to the largest narrative. Otherwise, we have a sort of moral amnesia that comes from seeing short term gain without seeing long term accountability and effect.

Environmental work and abolition of nuclear weapons work require the perspective of the largest narrative. Both perspectives are embraced together in the larger narrative.

Beyond remembering where we came from and where we fit in the big picture, there is also the crucial matter of the human heart. Pollution doesn’t originate in toxic chemicals; it originates in the human heart. Atomic weapons don’t originate in splitting the atom; they originate in the human heart. The world is defiled by what comes out of the human heart. Therefore, what needs to be changed is the human heart, what needs to be formed is a heart that cherishes the environment, even more than profit. What is needed is a reverence for ultimate power which is not produced in a laboratory. False security becomes a false god.

In the end, the environment is a spiritual matter. In the end, the building of nuclear arsenals is a spiritual matter.

To discover this, one needs to start at the end and work backwards.