Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apocalypse Now: Sandy Dominates My Weltanschauung

Big word that: Weltanschauung. It means world view, a comprehensive top-to-bottom, right-to-left, inside-and-outside account of the world. Well, hurricane Sandy changed my world. She deserves a Big Word.

Now, physically, me and my stuff are now OK. But as I type this I hear noise created by the generator at the firehouse behind my building. The street it faces doesn't have electric power. That firehouse is my polling place today. I assume the generator will power the electronic voting machine.

Tomorrow we're supposed to get an ordinary winter storm, one of those storms that're variously delightful, if you like snow, or merely irritating if you don't. But this one is coming on top of Sandy, and Jersey City has not even remotely recovered from her. So the impact of this new storm could be harmful, especially for those still without power.

Given this, it is thus something of a shock when I go online to the various places I haunt and discuss and find that those discussions aren't dominated by Sandy. Why not? Because most folks don't live in an area that's been crushed by Sandy. She doesn't dominate their Weltanschuung.

For me and my neighbors, we got a taste of the apocalypse. For the rest of the world, life goes on.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post!

    Even with no damage to my life, I've been keenly aware of Sandy and had to change the focus of my days-off plans because of it. The consistent thread has been reading Natalia Ginzberg's essays. In her remarkable discussion of silence she writes in 1951, "Today, as never before, the fates of men are so intimately linked to one another that a disaster for one is a disaster for everybody. . . the ways of curing this silence that have been suggested to us are clearly unreal. . . with egotism. . . egotism has never solved despair. . . calling our soul's vices illnesses. Silence must be judged from a moral standpoint. It is not given to us to choose whether we are happy or unhappy. But we must choose not to be demonically unhapppy. Silence can become a closed, monstrous, demonic unhappiness: it whithers the days of our youth and makes our bread bitter. It can lead, as I have said, to death."

    She writes that our only choice in life is moral responsibility; that what we lack is " free, normal, relationships." In the absence of this "silence
    harvests its victims."