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Inistential

inistentiel
Albrecht Dürer: Celestial Map of the Southern Sky
[Imagines coeli meridionalis] (1515)


" … we are the existential threat …"


We seem to inhabit a world beset with existential threats. An existential threat, for those who, unlike me, do not collect lengthy terms like fishermen collect worms, imperils our very existence. In other words, should an existential threat come to fruition, it would destroy us. Polly Pureheart faced an existential threat when Snidely Whiplash tied her to that railroad track, though I never understood why he chose to do that. Had a train come along while she was tied there, it would have been the end of her. Fortunately, Dudley DoRight's horse Nelly noticed something amiss and carried Dudley to the scene of the impending existential threat, where he was able to easily neutralize Snidely's trumped up existential threat on poor Polly, who, as a result, fell in love with Nelly, if my memory serves me correctly. Existential threats, as this story demonstrates, are very serious business.

We might also inhabit a world beset with what I might call Inistential threats, imagined perils we project, which certainly seem to us to qualify as existential threats.
Pretty much everything Donald Trump raised a fuss about serves as an example of this sort of threat. Cardboard cutthroats storming mythical battlements, quite literally Trumped up threats intended to mobilize a base of true believers, by which I mean, of course, those predisposed to believe most anything as long as believing it promotes their prejudice. People often respond to Inistential threats more vehemently than they ever would to a genuine existential one, since the Inistential ones carry such great emotional content. Rights seem intentionally violated and wrongs so deliberately inflicted. A government mask mandate might serve as the very best example of an Inistential threat, something designed to save gets received as if it might instead kill, and logic, reason, and even response heads toward Hell, sans handbasket.

We see sizable segments of society dedicating themselves to ridding us all of Inistential perils which actually imperil nobody. Those who flood school board meetings to protest the teaching of subjects not taught there serve as an excellent example. With Inistential threats, the more an opponent denies their existence, the greater those against it find a kind of solace, for they knew anyone defending against their righteousness would have to be lying. Suddenly schools seem to be grooming the next generation to become morphodite moon worshippers rather than Good Christians, the latter being the ones burning books out on the front lawn.

Mistaking Existential threats for Inistential ones has become a full time occupation for our more conservative politicians. They bemoan a border crisis of their own making and curse those seeking freedom as criminals and worse. Typically, anyone trying to save some past worships at the alter of Inistential threat, for current generations never exhibit the collective imagination to foresee what might preserve and save any future world. Their default setting seems to be to fail to preserve some myth from some different context in the most obnoxious manner imaginable until, of course, they manage to imagine worse. The concealed carriers exclusively arm themselves against Inistential threats, rendering themselves existential ones, but can't quite acknowledge this. Those who insist that human-caused global warming couldn't possibly exist seem the greatest existential threat we face. If only they subscribed to reason as a means for resolving differences, we might manage to agree upon a focus. Until then, by which I mean 'until never', we will be chasing imagined threats more vehemently than any actual ones. It seems that, consequentially, we are the existential threat, you see?

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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