It feels like I live in such strange times – lately I struggle to find words – it seems like the phrases I know won’t quite cover it. Why? Is is because the phrases I know are outdated and haven’t kept up with the times? No, I don’t think so.
It’s more like the times can’t live up to the ideals and the clarity of other ages. See – I still can’t quite catch it with my pen.
I realize that little has changed fundamentally with human beings, it’s still about pleasure, pain, safety, joy and ambition, but it’s assumed such grotesque proportions. Sure, a glimpse at history will reveal all the usual suspects lining the walls of the corridors of time: the despots, the sadists, the philanthropists, the publicity-seekers and the libertines – they’re all the same. Only difference is probably in the fashions: skins, ermine or a nice man-made fabric mix for you, sir?
Maybe it’s that the median age of Western opinion-formers is so young, but they’re all so lived-out and tired: like aged drunks in the bodies of children.
And the false famines, the war and pollution?
They’re all there in history scarring the earth – the generations that crawl and maul, march and dance across her face. The major difference here is scale: in the old days it would take a decade to completely wipe out dodos and bison – now you can wipe out pretty much everything (except viruses and cockroaches) in about 20 minutes.
What about diseases?
There they are, all Nature’s cunning little culling agents: bacteria, viruses and parasites. Only now there are countless forms that we’ve enhanced by our own hand to be used on our enemies. But even that’s not new. During siege warfare in the Dark Ages, attackers would catapult corpses of plague victims into walled cities to spread the disease.
So, what IS new?
Scale and delivery: there are so many more of us and the technology of hate’s been vastly improved. Way to go.
You’d think that in the Information Age we’d be smarter, but there’s an intrinsic fault line that runs through human nature, and it’s been there right from the start.
Cut it any way you like, we’re broken