It may have been a love song. Long before Cat Stevens became Yusuf Islam. But in this case it is much closer to reality. And that is frightening. I try not to take a vocal political stance. Don’t get me wrong, I am a political being, just as everyone else should be – because apathy is not an acceptable option (just ask my friends). And because I am political I am taking a stance.
We are almost past the first third of August. And while July is supposed to be the hottest month of the year, I am still struggling with the lingering heat and humidity, doing my best to avoid the outdoors (Sheldon Cooper would have been so proud) and essentially living in air-conditioned spaces.
And while that, and what I’ll be having for dinner or how I will celebrate a friend’s birthday, should have been my greatest concern, all of a sudden there are other things I worry about. Not things I can do much about, not immediately and not directly at least, but things that worry me nonetheless. And yes, I am talking about the possibility of nuclear war – which whether you believe it or not will not affect just one part of the world, but the globe overall.
Guess what I am talking about yet? North Korea and the US of course.
Now, I did study politics. I try not to overreact to the machismo statements of two (very) unpredictable actors on the world stage – US President Donald Trump and North Korean (Supreme) ruler Kim Jong-un. And I try not to over-react because I know that in cases like these (more so with these two) the two sides are engaged in a pissing contest. Because my studies have taught me that in cases where the risk of mutually assured destruction exists logic will prevail and things will not escalate. And they very well might not escalate.
But, there is also the risk that things will escalate. Because both these leaders are willing to consider the least devastating option, when any devastation on either side should be unacceptable and a deterrent to all out war. Making Armageddon all the more possible. Perhaps even more possible than at the height of the Cold War (remember how close we got to a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis).
Note that I am not even considering the possibility of other actors “joining in the fun.” And they probably will. And then it will really be a wild, wild world. Just imagine any post-apocalyptic dystopian movie you have ever watched and multiply it by, well, I don’t even know by how much.
So, how did we get here? Well, in part because of apathy, in part because of ignorance, and in part because of incompetence – deliberate or accidental. Because of all the factors that led to a society more concerned with material well-being. Because of trust that the system will work. Because we lost faith in a system geared towards plutocracy. Because we – as a species – have dismissed knowledge in favour of populism. Because of reverting to primal instincts of beating up the other guy – albeit in modern clothing. Instead of a society that can negotiate, discuss, analyse, we have become a society of Biffs – and at a time when bullying has become a buzzword nonetheless.
Like I said before though, there is nothing I can do about the way things are. So why worry, you might ask. Well, because there is something we can do, collectively. We can go back to a society in praise of knowledge – not believing that the earth is flat for example. A society that does not believe everything it just hears (hearsay doesn’t even stand up in a Court of Law) or reads on the Internet. A society that will return to all the things that brought us here – and probably would have a lot faster had we not been obsessed with dominating each other. A society that works for the common good, far from tribal affiliations. And we need to do this urgently. If we get out of this that is, but I guess even if we don’t so we can prevent it from happening again (and no, I really do not believe in “history repeats itself”).
But for now, I’ll just go look for something to eat. Because the world may be ending, but I am famished still.
This in no way claims to be an academic thesis – hence the numerous Wikipedia references. It is just a collection of thoughts from someone that has been repeatedly called a “madman,” a “cynic,” and a “really professional nagger.”