Message from the Housemaster

Maarten Diederix shares his thoughts on the end being nigh.


The end of the world. It sounds like a movie, but then with an un-Hollywood-like ending, not good at all. As far back as I can remember the threat of the end of the world has always loomed on the horizon. As a child we received classroom lessons on diving under your desk and covering your vulnerable heads to survive  nuclear bombs and then leaving class in a tidy and orderly fashion. As if! Many people dreamed of digging their own bomb shelter in their backyard, with loads of food and some kind of ventilation system to filter out the poisonous fallout, all run on electricity of course.  The nuclear threat of war between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world was so close at the Bay of Pigs, that the end as we know it was almost a reality.

This and many other examples of living under this threat has had an effect on our behavior on the planet, and with the planet. The current world population now lives under a totally new threat: too much information. Every signal of a potential threat is broadly put on display on the world wide web, in full truth or just bollocks. I’m sure everybody knows beautiful examples of things being first very healthy turning into pure poison after scientific research, or the other way around. With the decay of religion as a backbone, the struggle to live long – not happy, but long – is in full swing in the rich parts of the world. Many people leave the planet definitively whilst screaming and shouting their injustice.

As humans we play a major part on the planet but we are by no means the only ones. Each and every part of nature plays a role, whether big or small. Without humans the planet will continue, but just in a different manner, maybe even better. For me as a father the decision to have children, based on end of the world doomsday scenarios would be easy; every day on the planet is one. And if you only reach the age of twenty or less, that is always better, way better, than no day at all on this extremely beautiful planet. The joy one can feel on any given moment and for any possible event justifies that. So my advice: if it is true that the end is nigh, who cares? Just live life like it will end tomorrow.


Maarten Diederix is UCU’s housemaster (or, according to his LinkedIn profile, demand manager). He has worked for UCU since 1998 and is an unmissable part of campus life.