Are we in the bad place?

There's been a lot of TV lately that deals with moral philosophy, time loops, the afterlife, and general existential dread.  Here I'm thinking of The Good Place, Russian Doll, and Forever.

The Good Place frames the afterlife situation for us: after you die, you get sent to the good place or the bad place (or, under extenuating circumstances, the medium place).  Where you go is determined by the points you get while you're on earth.  Good deeds earn you points and bad deeds take away points.

Now, this may be peculiar to me, but for a few years, I've felt like we're in "the end times".  Not in a biblical sense (well, maybe?) but in a "things have gotten out of hand and everything's breaking" sense.  Like, the bar is closing and they're telling us to go home.

The show is over, but we're still here.  Certain people have already left...certain people whom we respect.  Anthony Bourdain.  Robin Williams.

And now we have these shows that promise life after death, in some form or another.  We're holding fast to this life in the assumption that it's the "prime life", the most important life (or alternatively we believe that death is the end, and our consciousness just stops at that point, but that's not nearly as interesting).

What if we're all still here because we need to fix things?  I know I've done awful things, or rather, I've allowed awful things to happen.  Is the reason that we're still here in this increasingly insubstantial world that there are things that need to be fixed?

I can't stand Facebook.  It's a bunch of people trying to out-virtue-signal everyone else.  It's outrage central.  Going on Facebook feels like a game of "which pitchfork mob do I want to join today?".  Like the latest thing, the Virginia governor in blackface.  Yes, it's gross, but what's even grosser is the immediate piling on of shame that's happening.

Same thing with the Covington Catholic kids.  The immediate shaming and then the "real story" gets out and people are forced to admit that they saw what they were primed to see and reacted how the script said they should react.

And I'm no better.  I take a stand and if it turns out that stand is wrong, there's still a little of the old ego hanging around trying to fight.

I'm just thinking that we're flying a flag that says "righteous" and telling everyone else how bad they are yet we're not actually doing good.

Pointing out bad is not doing good.  You don't get good place points for yelling at people.  "Awareness" is a means, not an end.

I think we're stuck in the bad place until we realize that feeling morally superior is an addiction that we need to break.

We need to see the basic human decency in everyone.

This is crazy, but I think it's useful:

First, I admit that I deserve to be in the bad place.  I have been careless with other people's feelings.  I have blamed people for things that they were not responsible for.  I have taken advantage of people.  I have avoided people because I was afraid of what might happen if I saw them.

Now, I have to begin the hard work of becoming a better person.  This means that I need to make other people's days better when I see them.  I need to be a ray of sunshine.  I need to thank people more.  I need to care about how other people are doing.  I need to empathize and connect.  I need to tell people that they are important.

There's a Jewish term, tikkun olam, that means "repairing the world".  That's gonna be my goal.


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