“You can see the early signs of daylight fading; we’ll leave just before it’s gone,” closes the melancholy chorus of the song “Daylight Fading,” from that most melancholy of roots rock bands, Counting Crows, off of their dark but beautiful album “Recovering The Satellites.” I sang this song to myself as I had the chance to watch a beautiful Thai sunset without the light pollution in the way, but only because the power went out for about three hours here during the heart of the evening, starting during my late afternoon class and not finishing until well after dinner.
A life is privileged if it never once has to think about logistics. The less one has to worry about gathering sufficient resources to survival, the more pleasant and enjoyable one’s life is, the less unpleasant choices and dilemmas one faces, and the less stress and strain one has to suffer along the course of one’s life. It is scarcity that is a great curse of human existence, and those who have to wonder where the resources are going to come from not only to fulfill their own goals and ambitions but also even live a decent and tolerable existence, or at times even eke out a difficult one face difficult lives.
I speak as someone whose mind is not naturally inclined to think about resources. I do not have the nature to hoard up and collect resources, unlike some who excel in that sort of grasping behavior. By nature I am a strategic person, planning and silently and quietly working to attain my plans with a minimum of fuss but a maximum of explanation and justification and rationalization. Nonetheless, the course of my life has often forced me to deal with unpleasant logistical questions, to the extent that I see a certain value in a logistical strategy given the uncertainties of the present state of our world.
It is strange how my mind turns when I am forced at leisure to reflect upon my surroundings and my the state of my own personal world. At any rate, my thoughts turn to logistics when infrastructure starts showing signs of breaking down. When there is no power or water, when prices start to increase or supplies start to dwindle, or when transportation networks seem to falter, my thoughts turn to the ramifications of such problems on the life of people whose existence is fairly marginal. The fewer resources one has, the greater one is prey to volatility in the conditions of the world. The greater one’s resources, the smoother one’s ride throughout our tempest-filled lives. The possession of pleasant and tranquil lives is not necessarily a sign of moral virtue, just as the lack of resources is not necessarily a sign of vice; life is far too complicated for such simplistic reasoning. Nonetheless, ceteris paribus , I’d prefer to have more resources myself, as would most people.
Those who know me well are well aware of the fact that I am not someone who is prone to be all that interested in hoarding resources, or to be particularly greedy either. Nonetheless, my life has led me to understand that life is particularly dangerous right now because our crumbling infrastructure makes our societies a lot less robust than they should be. And this is not just a material matter, though the failing transportation, communications, and logistical infrastructure of our world’s societies is certainly problematic. Even worse than all of these, though, is the fact that our social infrastructure is collapsing through atomization as well as the decline of fellow-feeling between family and other networks. A decline in social cohesion means less of a social network to draw upon since the ability of government to provide a social net seems to be deeply in jeopardy.
Even though I am not a particularly selfish person myself, I wonder how I am going to acquire the resources I need, whether those resources be in terms of money, or affection, or respect, in order to live a tolerable life. And I not only wonder that for myself, but I also wonder it for others. Every Friday night, the students who are about to graduate from Legacy ask for things like a Legacy sponsor, or for help from God in their own plans, for matters such as scholarships for universities or opportunities for themselves. We all have logistics on our minds; resources are scarce, social networks are frayed, people are more interested in hoarding than sharing, and we are all in the same boat together.
It concerns me above all that we are in the same boat together but aren’t acting in a coordinated fashion. Without love, and not just love that we claim in our hearts but love that we show in our actions, we are in serious danger. We can see the early signs of daylight fading; if we are wise, we know that hard times are already here, and do not appear to be leaving anytime soon. Why then are we not wise, and seeking to build up the cooperation we need with others in order to find a more worthwhile and meaningful life, rather than cutting ourselves off from any sort of mutual encouragement and support?
 Meaning “all other things being equal,” a common latin phrase used by economists.