The end is near?

It used to be that we had men on the street carrying boards
saying, “The end is near.”  Now
we have Paul Krugman [today’s New York Times]telling us pretty much the same
“Whatever the deep roots of this paralysis, it’s becoming
increasingly clear that it will take utter catastrophe to get any real policy
action that goes beyond bank bailouts. But don’t despair: at the rate things
are going, especially in Europe, utter catastrophe may be just around the
I hope that the reason this statement resonates with me is
that I have a deep neurosis:  Could a
dark pessimism lurk deep in my personality? 
I only hope it cannot be real.   
What I know is that I have friends from left and right who
fear catastrophe ahead — for different reasons, of course.  But when the future looks dark from starkly
different angles it could actually be as bad as we fear.
What is most exasperating is how easily — even in this
perilous time — our politicians pin  the
problems of our age on the failures of each other.  Of course each one tells us, in this election
year, that they know how to fix it — without giving us details; only that they
are the ones qualified to deal with the great problems of our age.   For me it is terrifying that we have to
entrust our future into the hands of politicians, the same guys that got us in
this mess.
This crisis — in governance, in the economy, in the global
ecology, etc — has been brewing for at least a generation and it isn’t going
away easily or quickly.  At least, so I