One minute you were stumbling along believing the convenient half-truths the media, government and socialization put into your mind, and the next… aware of that Rome is falling, the enemy is at the gates, and truth is a rare if not fully demonized commodity.
Like being launched unconscious into cold water, this experience presents such a rapid transition that you survive it on pure animal instinct and then spend years trying to figure it out. If everything that I trusted is a lie, what do I have now to replace those? And find a direction?
Most people refuse to go down this path at all because they are terrified of what they will have to do, which is re-invent their lives and do so in an inconvenient way, namely not thinking about the self but the consequences of actions in the world.
However, the path requires traversing if you want to think forward in a positive sense. Any idiot can muddle over the options that exist, but people of red blood and full hearts think toward their possible options for a future, and pick the best.
Among other things, you want your descendants — for 10,000 generations perhaps — to experience an optimal life. You want more than safety, wealth, comfort or stability. You want them to be shooting for an experience that makes life be as beautiful and powerful as it can be.
Sheer repetition of pleasures cannot do this. Even canned adventures like mountain climbing or daring new sexual positions cannot do it. All that can do it is having a civilization with a central core of values, and thus an ongoing purpose and quest. That is the adventure of life itself.
How do we do right, waking up in the midst of modernity to find we live in a nightmare?
To do right in this time requires stabilizing ourselves after our awakening, and then applying a newfound sense of order and beauty to both personal and public spheres. Beauty is important because it shows us not what is acceptable or utilitarian, but what is the best of possible worlds, and that shows the only level of performance that can motivate us.
It is tempting to drown in depression, sadness, lamentation or other emotions. It is harder to do right, but doing right is the only way we can feel good about ourselves and our world. It is not an instant fix, but a slow and steady reversal of direction, like snowmelt carving paths through mountains.