The other night I finished up my latest Netflix binge, season 2 of “Sweet Tooth.” I’m not sure how they managed to work in so many connections to the current state of the real world in such a fictional setting, but it was so good! I’ll try not to include any spoilers.
The story follows what happens when a new, highly misunderstood hybrid human/animal species is introduced into a post-apocalyptic society which blames them for its collapse. I highly recommend watching… you’ll probably cry… a lot, but it’s really good. Worth it!
The show seems to offer a brilliant commentary on much of what we are seeing happen in our world around us today. I have to imagine this was done intentionally. We are easily lead to fill in the (small) gaps between what is happening in the state of affairs on-screen and the world we are currently living in. The only difference, the show takes it a step further as viewers witness the collapse of society as we know it — what they refer to as “the crumble.”
Don’t worry this is not a doom and gloom kind of post. I just think there are some interesting insights in this commentary.
If you have spend even a minute on the internet you have probably heard reference to the idea of our current society beginning to crumble. And just like in the show, a lot of what appears to be leading to this crumble has to do with a very white culture, colonizer, “everything is here for the taking” kind of mentality where the impact of our actions on others and the world around us tends to go ignored.
This goes hand-in-hand with a similar belief within this mentality, the idea of success - a “work hard, never stop, grind until you make it” kind of thinking that has commonly gone unchecked for a long time.
It doesn’t take rocket science, or even DNA altering science (remember the hybrids from that show?) to realize that the combination of these two mentalities, that is obviously apparent in “Sweet Tooth” and also super common in the real world, quickly leads to the demise and crumble of the world we live in. This sounds something like denying climate change because then we would have to take responsibility for the impact that we have on the planet. And, that would just cost too much money. The drive for success (which generally equates to money) tends not to care about the impact that it takes to get there.
The drive for more and more paired with blinders that ignore our interconnectedness, along with our necessary immediate and long term impact on the world around us only lasts so long before resulting in “the crumble.” It is important to note that most things that have brought us here probably didn’t start off that extreme.
Logging a field to build a cabin to house your family doesn’t seem extreme. Although, somewhere along the line that turned into the housing industry, an idea that has normalized paying for basic requirements of life. Marking postal trails to connect villages doesn’t seem extreme. But, at some point those trails turned into an interstate highway system and a mentality that assumes all adults should drive and own a car.
To get really specific about it, each of the 290.8 million registered motor vehicles in the US (as of September 2022) generate, on average, 4.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Do you know how much that is in total?! Neither do I, because that is a huge number (1.33768e9 to be exact). It didn’t start that extreme, but we inadvertently designed it this way. We designed a system that nearly requires every eligible adult to own a car and drive just about everywhere. The impact of which, even beyond CO2 emissions, seems immeasurable.
We could probably go on and on with examples that demonstrate the unintended and often ignored consequences of extremism, but the point here is to highlight the impact of our success driven, resource devouring ways as a society. Our extremism has created livelihoods, even generations of livelihoods, based in this mentality — ignorant, maybe even oblivious, to when or how to stop.
Enter “conscious conclusions.” There is a great power in knowing when it is time to end something and then intentionally doing it. We tend to have a great resistance to endings in our society. By and large, we don’t do lose, grief, or failure well. There are some obvious parallels here to our extremism mentalities. Endings, “calling it quits,” feeling like a failure, or even just deciding your are done with something aren’t things that seem to come easy. They are not commonly taught well. Usually they are ignored altogether except for learning that “quitting is for losers” or something similar. But the reality of it is that things end one way or another. We will loose things at times, we will experience death and grief, and things that have worked for us in the past will, at some point, probably stop working.
In a way, it is no wonder that we have a collective history of carrying on with things far past the point of acceptable. Somewhere along the line, many of the things that now seem so extreme crossed a line from reasonable into the land of no return (and some other things that were never ok or acceptable were somehow allowed to be and have always been extreme).
What if we didn’t have to do that anymore? What if we got really good at conscious conclusions? Lose all of the baggage around failure, around the accumulation of things, or around excessive greed for profit and take a look at the impact that we each have on the world and others. When we do this it becomes pretty clear if and when something is not working. A business model isn’t functional anymore? That’s ok. Let’s bring it to a conscious conclusion and build a new way. Outgrow a relationship? Fine. Conscious conclusion. Job not working for you anymore? That’s cool. Let’s create healthy work relationships where conscious conclusions are normal at work.
Now this may sound “pie in the sky,” to good to be true” kind of thinking, and maybe it is right now. However, it is not out of our grasps to be the ones to start. Find the places in your life where you have the influence to openly develop a healthy mentality towards conscious conclusions. Intentionally build spaces where truly healthy and open dialogue is common. Practice consciously concluding things in your own life that you are complete with. Consciously conclude that less than desirable conversation you had with your partner or work colleague instead of carrying it around for the next three days. Consciously conclude that task that you have been putting off for weeks, eve thought it will probably only take 10 minutes. Consciously conclude either starting or dropping that project that you never started. Maybe it doesn’t need to happen or maybe now is the perfect time to start.
These are all just options. You don’t have to start by doing it all. Just pick one thing in your life as a place to start your conscious conclusion journey. When that one is done try it again somewhere else. This practice can create big shifts in your personal life.
We also get to be the ones to be the way shower in those areas of our lives that we have influence beyond just our own little bubble. For sure, there is somewhere in your life
where you can influence conscious conclusions. Be the one to offer this new way. Maybe there is something
that you see is damaging the world ignorant to the ones doing it and simply by bringing it to their attention there might be change. Perhaps that is something to be influenced on a much more grand scale where conscious conclusions would create beneficial transformation, or maybe there are little things that can be done on a consistent basis that encourage conscious conclusions in the world around you.
Only you can tell what you are being called to do. As always, it is not up to any single one of us to do it all, but it is up to all of us to do something. Go bring conscious conclusions to your world.