We live in interesting times. Is that the interesting times of the ancient Chinese curse, or just plain old interesting? It’s hard to tell. From one perspective, from the UK, through the USA, Europe, Russia, middle east, Africa and beyond, it appears that ordinary people are just not happy with the status quo.
To be fair, ordinary people have not been happy for some time. But now its visible. Is that just the effect of social media, or have we become bolder in expressing our discontent with the world? I have always held that anyone who doesn’t have a problem with the way the world works is part of the problem, so I am the wrong person to ask.
At times like these, I am often reminded of Nassim Taleb’s book The Black Swan and the idea that, no matter what is going on, the thing that almost everyone expects or is predicting, is NOT going to happen. Humans are just terrible at predicting their futures. In fact, our history is a rumble tumble of unforeseen and unpredicted turns of events. Of course, they all seem logical in hindsight. But at the time… well now, no-one saw that coming.
So, as we move deeper into the Apocalypse, my thoughts are turning to what ELSE could happen instead of what many expect.
The stand out point of all this end of the world angst for me is that most intelligent and emotionally available people know that the way our world works is far from ideal. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to say that we seem to have become enslaved to a notion of business that glorifies short term growth and profit at the expense of long term longevity and human quality of life. As individuals we have bought into this world view at an alarming rate and most us appear to be fixated with instant results and success and increasingly unwilling to do any hard yards at all.
If this IS the end of the world as we know it, I for one will not be sorry to see those aspects of our world disappear. I would love our planet’s focus to turn to our collective well-being and advancement… to global projects that include proper exploration of our entire planet and solar system, massive mutual funding of research into medicine, brain science, energy forms, travel options and psychology.
As a species we direct so much effort into short term goals and narrowly defined ambitions, it seems no wonder we are constantly in conflict with one another. Is it possible that the upheavals in the UK, the USA, the EU, the middle east and the far east could be harbingers of change for the good instead of the bad? Or are we all still so programmed to want nothing to change that we just cannot accept any of it as being good until we are forced into it?
I certainly don’t have any real answers except the above desires to re-direct our collective attention. But attitude-wise, I am with REM on this one:
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.