How to stop the apocalypse

Humans are obsessed with the idea of the End Times, the apocalypse, the concept that we are teetering on the edge of a catastrophe. Most major world religions describe some kind of "end time" or debased age, and I'd argue that this has seeped through into modern Western culture; though the specifics change (these days politics, climate change or nuclear weapons herald the end of the world as we know it rather than, say, comets), each generation is always perverting the work of the last and the world as we know it is always definitely on the verge of ending.

At the moment, we have two separate Apocalypses of the Month: the US presidential election and the EU referendum. In the US, the two frontrunners are a corrupt neoliberal and a creepy orange fascist. In the EU, the perpetually sulky and disruptive UK is calling a referendum as to whether to stay in an admittedly corrupt and labyrinthine institution with many a failing but lots of positives for education, research and free movement, or to strike out alone, handing control to inept ideologues and retreating quietly into the serenity of Little England. (Seriously - locking ourselves out of the single market and our biggest trading partner is something MPs are scrabbling to work around.)

It looks like the UK is going to vote out, in which case us Britons should enjoy our brain drain, diminished presence on the world stage, and disgruntled expats scrabbling to keep living in Spain. I bet people won't even stop complaining about immigration. This isn't even some little European spat; the President of the United States got involved.

This is just the icing on the cake of shit, though, with the idea that we're serfs in a neo-feudal society controlled by a shadowy elite. Racism for great justice is not necessary, but is usually added anyway.

Of course, this is really nothing compared to the fact that we have nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors which need to be constantly maintained, and the teensy weensy issue of climate change.

In case you didn't get the message, everything's fucked.

Let's change focus for a moment, from the world to just one person.

Yes, of course it's me. I really am that special.

The reason I'm making it all about me is that I'm one of those gosh-darned millennials everyone loves to hate. I'm selfish, entitled and sensitive. To add insult to injury, I am a child of privilege.

And do you know what? I own that. I'm a selfish brat who likes to get her own way and has a family who gave her the world, and I feel a lot. I'm easily upset. Sure, I have lots of bad qualities - but I'd like to think that I have some good ones too.

I was born into a world that people older and wiser than me don't think we can change easily. I've (stupidly) thought that attending demonstrations would be enough to topple governments and paid prices higher than I care to tell you for my naivety. But I can't look at my generation and the generation after us and let us accept a bad future without one hell of a fight. Sure, you can call me entitled, but I've got the brains and the sheer blazing determination to make something which half works and see it through. And I can't control the circumstances of my birth, so the very least I can do is use whatever privilege and power I have to help others.

Generally, the simplest solution to a problem is "smash things". Unfortunately, all this ever does is make life worse for the people who had little to start with.

So as much as I want to suggest smashing things up as a suggestion for stopping the apocalypse, it's probably not going to work. Hell, Trump is the way a desire to smash the political system has manifested itself and it's not going to go well at all.

Instead, break things strategically - however that may work best for you. Mess things up. Slow things down. Sabotage something intricate.

I'm not going to pretend that politics is a well-oiled machine; it looks like it's going to fall apart all of the time. Even if it was originally designed as a well-oiled machine, it's evolved into a mess which just about manages to sustain itself.

That's a strength, by the way. Because it's not designed as an incredibly efficient and intricate system, you can throw several proverbial spanners into the works and there will pretty much always be redundancy.

So do something stupid. Don't just throw a spanner into the works. Throw in slinkies, Rube Goldberg contraptions, a hideous Christmas sweater you never wear...seriously, try anything you want at this point.

We might not be able to stop the apocalypse everyone is predicting. But I will take my chances on doing anything, no matter how reckless it might seem.

If it works, congratulations - we successfully averted disaster by frantically trying everything, which is a damn sight better than doom-mongering. And if it doesn't, hey, the apocalypse is coming anyway, right? This is your last chance to enjoy yourself.

So go out and do something stupid.