The real reason why people lament the times we live in.
You have inevitably come across somebody who insists we live in dark times.
The New York Times recently published an article expressing this sentiment, and the New York Times is like your aunt Debbie—if they’re talking about it, that means everyone else has been talking about it for years.
The sentiment doesn’t seem to fit reality, though. ISIS is about as threatening as a horde of rampaging chimpanzees, and for the same, low-IQ reason. Just get out of their way and they’ll destroy themselves.
Ebola seemed scary at first, but then we realized it can be cured with chicken noodle soup and jell-o. We never realized this before because they don’t have chicken noodle soup and jell-0 in Africa. Also, Africa thinks diseases are demons. The chicken pox would eliminate the western world if we thought it was a demon.
That Ray Rice thing happened, which makes it seem like America is devolving into total misogyny. But it proved the opposite. Everybody got pissed at Ray Rice when they saw the video. It’s a victory for women and how far we’ve come.
Obama is a moron, but that’s per the usual of every president since Andrew Jackson.
The only truly negative trend is gays and gay marriage are being more accepted, but oh wait that’s a good thing.
Sure, not everything’s going the way we want it, but it hardly seems like dark times.
Then I remember that most people speak in code. We cannot come out and say things as they are because the unadulterated truth is often jarring to our sensibilities, if not impolite. So we say things in an indirect way. This doesn’t give people an exact impression of what we mean, but it at least gives a general one.
When a guy says “I’m on Tinder,” he really means “I’m afraid to talk to girls.”
When a girl says “I’m a feminist,” she really means “I need a boyfriend.”
When a congressman says “I’m pro-life,” he really means “I represent a district that’s mostly pro-life, so to be pro-choice would be career suicide.”
Makes sense, right?
It’s the same with “we live in dark times.” What this really means is “hey everybody, don’t be friends with me because I don’t feel ready to have friends.”
Not everyone is ready to have friends. There are still things some people need to work out in their lives before they’re ready to share their lives with others. The common cause of this is these people don’t know what they want out of life, and even if they did know what they want, they wouldn’t feel like they have the skills or knowledge to get it. Well, if you’re rudderless and incompetent, then the world can seem like a scary place, in which case it’s best to keep to yourself. We think it’s weird when these people want to keep to themselves, so they must cushion their weirdness with a “we live in dark times” refrain.
I remember back in college, when the Iraq war was more of a thing, I thought we lived in dark times, and I would often tell people this in various ways. I’m smart so I could dress up the code with philosophy and film criticism, but this is what I was saying.
Ahh, the good ol’ days.
Then I decided to do something with my life and learn stuff. After that, the world wasn’t so scary and so I was ready to make friends.
Maybe Neil Degrasse Tyson needs to tell himself how stupid everybody is, a variation of “we live in dark times,” because he hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with his life. Clearly science isn’t it. Judging by his affect on the Cosmos reboot, his true calling is pedophilia.
Hey guy, no worries. You tell yourself how bad everything is because everyone’s stupid. It’s okay. We’ll be here when you’re done, ready to accept you back into the world with chicken noodle soup and jell-o.