Refreshment Center contributor, Christopher Weller
I had a friend once. We played until the sun went down. We laughed in fits of joy until we collapsed upon the ground. We shared our world, our dreams, our nightmares, and our imaginations. We looked out for each other, and shared each others’ secrets. The world was an endless playground, and we were invincible as long as we were together.
We grew together, and we felt the pains of growing up together. We experienced the fears of entering each milestone of life together, and we would carry the weight of the challenges of life together. Each event, each holiday, each celebration, we’d be right by each others’ side. The future was ours to conquer.
Through our childhood to adolescence, we rode the journey of life together. We entered the world cradled by the culture of civilization. We were assimilated the same. We became inducted into the role of what the culture asked us to be, ordained into the dominant belief system of the culture, and graduated from its catechism together.
Yet, once the imaginary world of childhood passed, we were soon indoctrinated into what it means to exist in the culture, what it takes to find happiness, what it means to have success, and what it takes to even survive. We had to start thinking about what we will “be” when we become an adult, and when childhood is over.
The culture began to mold us into individual units, categorizing us into our roles as the various cogs in the wheels of its machinery. Our dreams began to become our ambitions, and the culture would welcome this.
Yet, our friendship persevered through these changes. We entered our adult lives together, and our roles in the culture didn’t impede upon what we shared- our lives together. As long as we played the game together, as we did as children, our journey through this life would continue unabated.
The pressure began to build upon our lives. We started our lives with our own responsibilities. Soon came finding a job, cutting the ties with family as we entered the world on our own. Families of our own were built. We found shelter and hoped for stability. The onslaught of these new responsibilities brought on the struggles of our lives. More and more time became consumed by bills, taxes, and rent. The walls of life closed in all around us. Yet, we still were able to hold on to our friendship.
The forces of living in the culture took us away from our innocence, and both of us still played the game, the role of the civilized, the role of the consumer, and the role of believing in the glory of being a part of the promises of civilization. We had found and grabbed hold tight to the American Dream. Yet, there would soon be one of us that would let go.
Soon I would come across the truth of how the world works. I would learn what was happening to the world. The way we had been living was destroying the world. All that was promised by our culture had been lies. Everything we believed as being the right way to live, the only way to live, was about to cause the death of everything. It would not happen to some distant society far into the future. It would not even happen to the next generation. It would happen during our lifetime. If the world was to continue operating in this way, we would experience the collapse of all that we knew the world to be.
Upon such an epiphany, I found it most urgent to talk to my friend. I felt the innermost desire to give my friend the news. If there was anyone in the world who I would want to present my discovery, if there was anyone who I could trust, and if there was anyone who I could confide in, calming my most horrifying fears, it would be my friend. With the utmost fervor I contacted my dear friend, hoping to bring about the same sense of concern as I had felt upon my awakening.
I had laid out everything to my friend. There was not one detail left out of the discussion – the ponzi scheme of the monetary system, civilization reaching the carrying capacity of the planet, the peaking of oil and other resources, the acceleration of global warming, the rapid decline of species diversity, the reason for the growing international instability, the reasons for our rights being evermore rapidly demolished – nothing was left untouched. I showed how it all was connected. I felt as though I was part teacher and part prophet. I was simultaneously giving the truth of the doom of which we faced, and also the good news that what I had discovered was that there was a true way to live upon this planet – one that the whole world could embrace as it threw away and let go of the damaged past the culture had created. I had thought that I was to be my good friend’s savior from a world of lies, betrayal, and delusion.
However, the dream of having an everlasting friendship began to fall apart as quickly as I had begun to leave the world of which I was once so familiar. I would never be on a park bench some day with my friend, as the years took the better of us, and we would talk and chat about a long life lived together as lifelong friends. For as much as I had begun to abandon my belief in the culture of which had brought us together as friends, I had equally become something quite different. I had become something of which my friend could not fathom. I had become something that could not be understood.
The culture had taken too strong of a hold upon the psyche of my friend over the years that had passed. My words fell upon deaf ears and my friend began to see me as someone who is sick, crazy, and need of help. I don’t know if it was the way I approached. I don’t know if it was just too much for my friend to handle. But, something struck a blow to our friendship – something that was too much for my friend to bear.
The extraordinary times that I had become aware of, that I wished to share with my friend, what I believed could further solidify our friendship, was something that was not so remarkable. I was in disbelief. How could anyone ignore what was happening? How could anyone not acknowledge that what I was saying was something other than the key to what has ailed humanity for so long? That which had made all the struggles and hardships we had faced throughout our lives come to be? How could anyone continue with their life as usual, when presented with such a level of profound dread on the horizon?
Why couldn’t my friend see that I was only trying to warn, to enlighten, and to help?
The months had passed since our discussion. The calls, the emails, the meetings became less and less. Each and every time I attempted to slip in another fact or occurrence on the global scene that vindicated my argument, it seemed to only further separate us, and numb our friendship. Our conversations soon became shorter and shorter. My friend seemed to talk fast in hopes that I would not bring up “that topic” again.
But, just as our conversations began to imitate the cultural norm, as it continued to involve more and more of the usual gossip, mainstream news, politics, or pop culture, the more I became less interested. I would hear but not listen. What rang through my head was only a hope that my friend would suddenly awaken, give me one factoid that came up, which could lead the conversation toward the subject of Collapse. As we talked about our families, our kids, and what they were up to, I daydreamed that my friend would say, “Hey, I was thinking about what you said about oil, and….” or “I remember you were once saying something about the money system, and…,” but it would only remain a dream. We had become unrecognizable to each other.
As time passed, we grew more and more apart, even though our time together never decreased. We became part of different worlds – my friend part of my old world, and I part of the Transition, the real world that has always existed. I was evolving, and my friend’s world was becoming extinct, obsolete. I wanted so much to bring my friend with me, so that we could share this extraordinary experience.
At least my friend could continue on ‘till the End not being seen as an outcast. At least my friend could go on in the delusion, continuing to reinforce the fantasy promised by the dying culture, surrounded by others, hiding within the bubble, and I would not be around to burst it. The enchantment created by the culture that had given birth to us both had captivated my friend beyond what I could understand. I had awoken from the trance, and there was no going back. I would remain awakened from the long sleep of civilization, but I would be alone.
There would be others that I would find, similar to me, who fully understand what is happening to the world and where we are going, but they would never be the same. They were not a part of me as was my friend. But, I have come to realize that as a part of me, my friend will come with me through the transition, and will always be part of my soul. I realize that no matter what I become following the evolution of the Transition, I will still take with me all that was good. I will still take with me all that I had learned. I will still take with me all that I shared and all that was given to me. I will still take with me all those that I had loved and who had loved me. As I meet others in the culture of Transition, I will share with them such stories of my life, as they will with me.
I’m sure that most of their stories and mine will begin with such words as, “I had a friend once….”