The Truman Show as springboard to more serious thoughts about tomorrow.

Photo by Kal Visuals on Unsplash

The Truman Show, a 1998 film starring Jim Carrey as Truman, was a wonderfully original story about a man whose whole life, unbeknownst to him, had been lived in front of TV cameras. That is, his life was a TV show.

The film served as a vehicle to offer insights and raise questions about our own lives, the roles we play, and our level of awareness as regards what is really going on outside our own little world.

One of the themes in the movie is a pin Truman was wearing. “When Will It End?”

Despite the comic story line, amplified by Carrey’s naturally inventive style, the film is serious in tone. And this question is not simply for Truman’s viewers, but for each of us as well.

We’re all familiar with sayings like “it came to pass,” statements we use to comfort ourselves during hard times or a cold spell. Nothing lasts forever, we say. Yet when we say this, we seldom apply this across the board. We generally live as if we ourselves are not going anywhere any time soon.

By extension, few of us can really imagine a future in which the United States is no longer the United States.

So when we read books and articles about the fall of the Roman Empire, designed to teach us lessons about how nations and empires fall, how is it that we do not, almost cannot, relate it to our own nation, which is currently the world’s strongest superpower?

There was a time when Britain basked in the glow of knowing that the sun never set on the British Empire. After three centuries of global power the Empire was dimantled in less than 50 years. How long can the Americans be so blissfully oblivious to the reality that all things must pass?

No, I’m not of the opinion that the end is near. On the other hand, I’ve been wrong before and don’t want to make erroneous assumptions when there’s something at stake.

In 2008 someone shared an article with me from the Wall Street Journal regarding a prediction that the U.S. will be history by 2010. Purportedly, a certain Igor Panarin had predicted for more than a decade that the U.S. would break up in a civil war due to economic and moral collapse.

This guy was no lightweight academic. Panarin was a former KGB analyst who headed the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. The factors that were to bring us down included “mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation”… along with collapse of the dollar. His portrait of our United States was a breakup into six pieces, Alaska ultimately returning to Russian control.

Panarin was not the first to carry a “Doom” banner. And he did hedge his bets, like the weatherman who states, “There is a 65% chance of rain.” Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't rain.

Nevertheless, going back to my question: How will it end? Nothing lasts forever. We know that. So, what next? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that America is in decline. Predictions of decline have been heralded for some time. How serious is our sickness? What do we even compare it to? Will the patient recover?

Is this all too far out? You tell me… because an inquiring mind wants to know.

Originally published at

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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