Solomon Natar

Apocalyptic girlfriend

In such crazy times, what can we expect for the future? Is the world really going off the deep end, and if so, what is our philosophy for life and love? As one ponders the pessimistic prospects of society, the idea of building a family might be reconsidered. If the dramatic end of history is in fact impending, then love is under strain. But then again, better to pursue love than cower to the apocalypse.

The German Jewish intellectual Walter Benjamin wrote in his epic essay “Theologico-Political Fragment,” that meaning in life can only be through a conception of history as programmatic, a process leading towards the summation of all things. He then poses the human pursuit of happiness as a paradox to such eschatological meaning in life. We derive meaning and purpose from an eschatological worldview, but eschatology constitutes the collapse of human society, calamity and the failure of mankind’s quest for happiness.

It seems, based on this logic, that we must choose existentially between either happiness or purpose. Of course, there are other eschatological approaches, such as that of Maimonides, that are not so pessimistic! Instead of destruction before the Messianic era, history would just smooth over into post-history, thus we could have historical purpose and enjoy life too. In the meantime, it is not unrealistic that we are approaching an apocalyptic scenario, what with (justified) Islamophobia and environmental breakdown, for example. How unfortunate!

I imagine an apocalyptic scenario like a nightmare. Like in the days of Noah, trapped in the floodwaters, too late for rescue. Locked in the ghetto, behind barbed-wire and fire. You run to the hills but are surrounded by terrorists, no food and water, as they approach with rifle and knife. Waves crashing, bodies everywhere. If you are lucky, a prophet will warn you ahead of time. There is no safe place, not here and not anywhere.

My girlfriend likes stability, a safe place of comfort and a loving home. She wants to build her house on the rock, one household appliance at a time. We can find an apartment outside the city, maybe buy a car. We wonder where to send children to school. Best we give it a shot and hope for years of normalcy, I tell her. But she is anxious, to lose what she loves. She invests, and hates to give her money or her affection to things that will pass. It is too late for that, she knows, she already loves me.

About the Author
Natar has an MA in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He likes to read and write about politics, Jerusalem and messianism.
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