I dreamed I was in a burning office building. Flames were everywhere, but people around me acted as though nothing was wrong. They went about their work. They laughed and talked. There were children there, too. I remember a little girl in particular. Everybody seemed oblivious to the danger that was obvious to me.
I tried to get the attention of the people near me and I pointed to the flames. Nobody cared. I wanted to run out of the building to save myself, but I knew I should save as many people as I could — because people would be dying in mere minutes.
As the dream ended, I was conflicted and angry. Nobody was listening. I wanted to save them, but they wouldn’t see the danger. I couldn’t decide whether to keep trying to save them or just get out to save myself instead.
I woke up in a sweat, but I knew what the dream meant. In the last few weeks, I’ve been conflicted about the work I’m doing on the YouTube channel called DavidMcElroy.TV. I finished editing the first 10 episodes a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to post them.
I feel as though I’m casting myself in the role of an expert or a guru. Even a would-be hero. Or maybe an apocalyptic prophet from the Hebrew Bible, the sort who stumbles out of the wilderness to warn the people of hidden destruction just ahead.
And when I see myself that way — and when I realize how this plays into old egotistical desires of mine to be a leader and a hero — I want to stop everything.
It makes me want to stop talking publicly — to shut all of my media efforts down completely — and to disappear into comfortable obscurity without being concerned with what’s about to happen to others. With a few simple actions, I could shut down this site and delete my remaining social media footprint.
I don’t want to be anybody’s guru or hero or harbinger of doom. Is it time for me to disappear instead?
When our society finally crashes, almost everybody is going to cry, “How could we possibly have known that was coming?!”
That’s going to frustrate me. I’m going to feel like a failure, because I’ve seen for years where things are eventually going, just as a few others have seen. And I’ve desperately wanted others to see what I see, too.
“I tried to warn you about this,” I’m going to angrily think, “but you wouldn’t listen.”
And I won’t know whether to blame them or to blame myself.
To make things worse, I don’t see a reasonable middle ground. I don’t see how to warn people about what’s coming without making myself seem like an arrogant man who’s setting himself up as an expert who deserves to be heard.
After looking at the videos I created for myself, I felt as though I had to either embrace that role — of being an authoritative expert or warning prophet — or else just shut my mouth entirely.
I just don’t see a middle way. It has to be one extreme or the other.
I used to believe I could contribute to public discourse as a normal person — and maybe even affect it in a positive way — but I no longer see a way to be rational, fair and reasonable in public discussion, yet still be heard above the noise of pervasive toxicity. A normal person speaking with a normal voice simply isn’t going to be heard, so what’s the point?
We’re entering a new “Dark Ages.”
I’ve never seen a time when such a large proportion of people — on all political sides — appeared to be certifiably insane. I don’t mean that as an insult. I honestly see a huge percentage of politically motivated people today as mentally ill in the clinical sense.
If entire societies could be diagnosed with mental illnesses — in the same way that individuals can be — I suspect a fair evaluation of modern American society would conclude that we live in an insane culture. But this seems invisible to most people living in the midst of it.
I’m under no illusion that anything I post on social media makes a difference in changing anyone’s opinion or reforming society in ways that matter to me. The things I post are the equivalent of me shouting into a void.
If I want to be heard, I have to set myself up as an “expert” and project a loud media voice. I have to convince people to listen to me — by entertaining them and by somehow convincing them that I have special knowledge that’s important to them. If you look at the people who are popular on media channels today, they’re almost all either entertainers or else they’re people setting themselves up as experts and leaders. I don’t see anything else that works in this media environment.
And this leads me back to the question. Should I be willing to become one of these loud-mouthed self-appointed experts? Should I join the chorus of people begging for attention and adulation from a fickle public?
Or should I protect myself — my ego, my pride, my dignity — by simply walking away for good?
I don’t like either choice. I want to find a way to effectively warn more people about what’s coming. But at this particular moment, it sounds very good to load up my cats and dog and to quietly move to somewhere I’ll be safe and obscure. Somewhere you’ll never hear from me again.
There are dangerous days ahead of this society — and it’s going to be a time when it’s safer to be hidden in the darkness of obscurity. Maybe it’s time for me to go ahead and disappear.
Hardly anybody else would really notice if my quiet voice disappeared, but it’s still a difficult decision for me.