Dr. Strangelove could re-emerge on the scene these days and fit right in. Kudos to (a) the primary political powers and players involved in the recent nuclear negotiations with Iran, (2) the complex confluence of historical circumstances that created this – put mildly – concerning situation, and (3) the psychological biases our species has inherited to predispose us to inescapable prisons of belief. If we look closely at the deal and everything it forebodes, especially if it doesn’t hold or is later broken (assuming it will actually get signed), we would be filled with such collective existential dread that we might initiate the self-destruction ahead of what Iran’s nuclearization effectively secures. In other words, the fact that this negotiation is even happening should be sufficient enough reason to force a global Being-toward-death confrontation. Instead, for most of us, it’s just another news fish struggling up the inexorable Twitter stream. Right next to articles about a possible nuclear apocalypse are predictions about the Final Four (or at least that’s what was present when I wrote this…substitute other trivial sports news as you please). Through the lens of Twitter, the gravity of what’s happening with Iran is no greater than the gravity of Kentucky’s chances at basketball immortality. We’re so quick to historicize such trivial everyday moments – because we have too much time and too much headspace that we have to make a big deal out of everything and secure our place and presence and significance alongside its significance – that we overlook the truly watershed moments unfurling themselves before us. Because we’re so loose and careless with our attention and we never spend too much of it on any single thing, we run the risk of blindly walking into massive self-destruction. If it’s not nuclear holocaust, it will be climate change, or some other force sneaking its way through our existence as we live out our petty concerns and desires and worry about things that carry no real or enduring weight.
But hey, why worry? Let’s love the bomb. It gives us the security of the thing we all know is imminent anyway.