On Being a Deluded Moral Nihilist in 2020
Posted on 30 March 2020, 9:30
The year was 1969. I was living and working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, managing an office for an international insurance company. I was invited to join a friend to participate in a weekly run by the world-famous Hash House Harriers, a group of mostly British and Australian businessmen who gathered for a four- or five-mile run through the nearby jungle, after which they enjoyed a beer bust. A mile or so into the run, I told my friend that the pace was much too slow, so slow that I didn’t feel I was getting any cardiovascular benefit from it and therefore had to pick up the pace. He warned me that the others would brand me a show-off if I did so, but I felt it was a waste of time to proceed at such a slow jog. I lengthened my stride and passed plodder after plodder, hearing a few mumbles about the “bloody, insane Yank” before I found myself leading the pack and drawing away from them. My sudden independence was short-lived, however, as I soon found myself ankle-deep in a pool of quicksand. When I tried to lift my right leg and extract myself, I realized I was in trouble. I was sinking.
Thirty seconds or so later, as the others caught up with me, one by one they circled around the mud pool, none of them saying anything or offering any assistance. I could see smirks on each of their faces. By the time the last harrier, my friend, passed me, not saying a word, I was up to my knees in the thick mud and began to realize that I was in serious trouble. It was six years before Dr. Raymond Moody coined the term “near-death experience” for what I was about to experience. As I continued to be swallowed by the mud hole, I was suddenly above my helpless body, looking down at it, and then found myself talking with someone who identified himself as one of my spirit guides. He gave the name Milo and chastised me for my impudence, commenting that I was very selfish in my motives. I had an instantaneous life review, seeing many other selfish acts of which I had been guilty, including a time when I was using my father’s car with a handicap placard and took a parking spot reserved for handicapped drivers. I also saw a time that I hid the ice cream in the back of the freezer so that no one else in the family would see it and finish it off before I could.
It was then that Milo asked me if I wanted to continue living and warned me that there were rough times ahead. “How rough?” I asked. “I’m going to take you 50 years into the future and show you what life will be like then,” he said. “I’ll begin with what it will be like if you choose to die now.”
I then found myself looking down at a table in a coffee shop. There were two people sitting at the table and my focus was on the young male with purple hair tied back in a pony tail and with green streaks on the sides. He was adorned with many tattoos and jewelry, including earrings and nose and lip rings. “What am I looking at?” I asked Milo. “That’s you in the year 2020 if you choose not to return now,” Milo responded. “You’ll be reborn in the year 1995 and you are seeing your 25-year-old self.” I shook my head in shock and dismay.
“Is that a goat on the floor next to me?” I asked. “Yes, that’s your emotional support pet, Milo explained. “Having him next to you helps you deal with life’s everyday stresses. You look at Charlie, your goat, and unload your troubles on him. He’s a good listener and never argues with you. He accompanies you everywhere, even on the plane when you fly home to ask your parents for more money.” My mouth was agape.
The person sitting next to me appeared to be a young woman, although she had more of a male haircut than I did. She was also covered in tattoos and adorned in facial jewelry. She had a peacock next to her, apparently her emotional support animal. She wore jeans that were all torn up, both knees with large holes in them. “Is she destitute?” I asked Milo. “Oh, no, that’ll be the style in 2020,” Milo said with a laugh. “It means that the person is a carefree, happy-go-lucky person, not tied down to the materialistic society of her parents.”
I asked Milo to elaborate. “Look,” he said, “you grew up with the idea that you had to apply effort to achieve something and that you had to deal with a certain amount of adversity along the way. At the same time, you were taught that there is a larger life for which the material life is but a preparation. However, you won’t view that in the same way in the life you are now looking at. The person you are in 2020 has been nurtured in a philosophy of materialism, more than that, hedonism, and with an entitlement mentality. And, he has been sheltered from adversity. Your president in 2020 will call your kind a ‘snowflake’.”
“How did that happen?” I asked Milo. “It’s very complicated, but in a nutshell it has do with science and technology progressing much faster than people could adapt to the changes; it’s humans looking for new powers when they haven’t adjusted to those they already have,” he responded. He went on to explain that it all started with the impeachment of religion by Darwinism and the growth of critical rationalism. It stalled somewhat during the first half of the last century because of the two world wars, people not wanting to believe that loved ones killed during the wars were totally extinct, but then it gained steam again during the 1960s, as television came into its own and offered an easy escape from reality.
The primary culprit, Milo said, is academia, since it rejected all things spiritual as “unscientific,” thereby misleading fertile minds – minds which were at the same time being indoctrinated by the advertising and entertainment industries into thinking that life is all about pleasure seeking. “You know the Seven Deadly Sins from your Catholic upbringing – greed, lust, sloth, wrath, envy, gluttony, and pride,” he said. “Those negative characteristics will be turned into positive attributes by Madison Avenue and Hollywood by 2020. Instant gratification and having fun will replace long-term fulfillment and happiness as motivators. People will become slaves to the five senses and there will be a significant moral void. You can see it now in 1969, but it will be ten-fold of what you see now in half a century.”
Milo added that by 2020 nihilism will be the philosophy of many, including an increasing number of young people. “Your heroes will be movie actors – people pretending to be real people – and athletes – people pretending to be real warriors,” he said. “The unreal will become the real for most people and that will result in a flight into self-delusion. You’ll live in a fantasy world. Salvation will be a secular matter and dependent on government entitlement programs. You, like so many others, will live from payday to payday. ‘Seize the day’ is your philosophy. The American dream is no more.”
Young people will have so much in the way of material goods and toys in 2020, Milo further explained, that they’ll become bored and lonely and rebel against materialism. “They’ll become angry, arrogant, apathetic, anxious, apprehensive, alienated, and aimless, and they’ll begin to consider a more socialistic government,” he said. To overcome the loneliness, he continued, they’ll join groups to promote causes they don’t really care about; their primary objective is to socialize with other humans, no matter the cause. “They’ll be out marching in the streets, carrying signs and protesting things they know nothing about or really care about. They’re looking for some kind of meaning in their lives even though it makes no sense to them. Some of them trick themselves into thinking their cause makes sense. Most of them are in deep despair, even though they don’t realize it.”
I noticed that my friend and I, as well as all those around us, were occupied with some small object we were holding. Milo referred to them as portable phones, but he said he hadn’t quite figured out what they were doing with them. He believed it to be some sort of finger flexibility exercise as he could make no sense of them otherwise.
I asked Milo if I’ll have a job in 2020. “You had one as a ripper,” he replied. “You were on the production line that makes those jeans your friend is wearing, and it was your job to rip them up as much as possible. However, you came to realize that you could make more from government programs, so you spend a lot of time in the coffee shop. You do make a few extra dollars every month from being a sperm donor.”
“Didn’t I get an education?” I reacted. “Yes, you got a Ph.D. and did your dissertation on the advantages of moral nihilism,” Milo answered. “You had hoped to teach that subject at the local university, but like so many of your generation you trained for jobs that no longer exist or for which there is a surplus of educated people. Yours was the latter. Technology moved too fast for the academic world, diminishing the appeal of the liberal arts and the humanities. Most people in 2020 should be going to trade school, not college, if they are to find meaningful employment. Incidentally, your friend there, who has a master’s degree in music, is on the production line after you. She’s a shredder. After you rip, she shreds, and the end result is what they consider a perfect piece of clothing. Such will be the world of 2020.”
Milo said that a big “cleansing” was going to begin in 2020 and things would gradually change. “But it’s going to be rough going for some years,” he warned.
I told Milo that I preferred not to die and face that future, but I wondered what was ahead if I managed to free myself from the mud. “You’ll face a lot of adversity,” he said, “but you’ll take it in stride and learn from it. You’ll find love and meaning in life, a meaning that will totally escape you in your life as a snowflake.” Milo then disappeared and I was back in my lower self. My friend had returned and extended a frond from a palm tree to me, and I was able to pull myself out of the quicksand (see photo). I feel certain I made the right decision in returning to my body in 1969. Better to have only days, weeks, or months left in this lifetime while believing in a larger life than another 50 or 60 years in my snowflake life as a deluded moral nihilist.
Note: This blog was prepared to be posted April 1, but it could go up a day or two early. I did manage to free myself from the mud before it was above my ankles. Happy April Fools’ Day.
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.