What Is Happening With the World?

image credit: Mike Davis*

Today my mind is filled with the random thoughts of time. It’s one of those things you periodically think about when you are incarcerated, but I don’t imagine this comes as a surprise to any of you? So here we are in 2020. Wow, had someone asked me in 1990 what the year 2020 would look like I’d’ve said, “Buddy, we’ll be lucky to make it to the year 2000 let alone 2020.”

Yet, here we are.

Somehow the world made it, despite the Cold War, cyber wars, Middle Eastern wars, terror attacks, and the move by nations to preserve one’s own. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, global warming, and a near global Ebola pandemic couldn’t stop our arrival.

Last night a conversation erupted amongst the guys about how crazy society seems to have become since being incarcerated and it got me to thinking. Yes, I thought, they do have a point. Things ARE crazier in many ways.

It’s not just my opinion. It’s the opinion of many of us who’ve been caged away for a long time. When you have time to sit and watch the world, you see the changes that you might otherwise miss had you been running about in the Rat Race. The world out there appears crueler, colder than the world I remember 25 years ago. People seem less patient, and less tolerant. Even our leaders and elected officials are degrees ruder and more aggressive.

Some of you disagree? Well consider this:

*I don’t recall religious fanatics flying jet liners into skyscrapers or dive bombing them into the Pentagon when I was free.

*I don’t recall mass shootings on our streets and in our businesses in the name of God, nor pipe bombs or knife stabbings because you are different. No.

*I don’t remember gunmen bursting into nightclubs and killing revelers because of their sexual orientation.

*I don’t recall knife attacks in people’s homes just because they were Jewish. And I certainly don’t remember that mass school shooting.

*Or that one.

*Or that one.

*Or that one.

*Or that one.

*Or that one.

*Or that one.

*Or that one.

Children killing children. Is this stuff really happening?

That’s just here in the United States. People in Europe have it magnitudes worse with the fanatacism and hatred that has embedded itself into European society. Terrorism is common place in Europe. Don’t agree? Fine enough. Just don’t tell the British that or the French or the Belgians, where knife attacks and fanatics in trucks running down pedestrians have become a recurring thing on British and French streets, and where periodic anti-terror gun battles rage in ethnic poor areas of Belgium.

Yeah, please don’t tell me that.

Religious fanatacism aside, even diseases seem more virulent and more efficient at sickening and killing people nowadays. Do you remember the 90’s? The prevailing thought then was that modern medicine would have conquered nearly everything by the year 2020. And we’re STILL having to tackle stuff like the measles, mumps, and diseases we long ago thought we had eradicated. Where are these coming from anyway? This doesn’t even take into consideration the myriad strains of virulent flu which boomerang around the world every year, always a bit meaner than the year before. I’m not even gonna get started on the handful of nearly 100% fatal diseases ravaging livestock in places like China and South America. It’s almost as if Mother Nature is trying her best to kill us.

In some ways it feels like the world is trundling toward a singular event, one that will reset things back to a time we long ago departed. They say we’re one solar flare away from returning to the dark ages. Is it a certainty that we’ll return? No, but the one thing that’s certain is a devastating solar flare. History is replete with them. The only difference now is that we have everything to lose when the next massive one strikes. How well do you think you’d fare without any electricity for years?

Yet, there’s a side of me that refuses to buy into this negative narrative.

In ways it feels like we are on the cusp of a major breakthrough, one that catapults us magnitudes forward. That one missing breakthrough that saves the day. But which one? Finally figuring out how to harness gravity? Improving solar to near 100% efficiency? Discovery of a new and limitless energy source that’s easy to harness? Mastering quantum computing? Hard to say. I think the choice is ours in the end. I think the future is undecided, despite it all.

The pace of technological change is breathtaking when you think about it. We’ve achieved more in the last two decades than we did in the previous 50 years prior, and in those 50 years prior we achieved more than we did in the 5,000 years previous. One can only guess where we’ll be another 50 years from now. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Here I sit forced to watch the world run to and fro, removed from it all. When I watch the news and see the madness, wars, fanatacism, the road rage, the polarization of society, believe it or not incarceration seems sane in comparison. It’s sad really.

Are we really better off now? I guess time will tell. But who am I?

I’m just a fish in a bowl with a blog.

*Special thanks to artist Mike Davis for use of the image “The Infernal Machine.” You can find more work by Davis at www.mikedavisfineart.com.

3 thoughts on “What Is Happening With the World?

  1. Unfortunately, there are not too many things that will reverse the negative courses you describe. There are very few events that unite opposing forces (today’s polarization) outside of a major calamity, natural or man made.

    Kupper Kalhoon advises – keep your guard up and be prepared to counter punch.

    1. Kupper, We’ve (the World) had a good run. Maybe in the end Mother Nature will cash in her chips for the borrowed time we’ve accumulated and everything will revert to what was. Who’s to say? Either way, it is what it is.

  2. Pingback: #16: Video Fridays in 60 Seconds — 28 Days Later, and The Jerry Springer Effect – Letters from Christopher

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