.....or is the greatest risk to our welfare taking place exactly then when we think there is no danger.
Do you occasionally reflect on the events of our age...wondering where things are moving to? I often do. I wonder "What's going on out there?", but often find it difficult to see clearly. Some inner perception tells me that everything should be obvious to me. I mean -- after the event don't you also have the feeling that any dumb mortal with half a mind should have seen that years in advance without problem? I sit here now and hope that a keener understanding will fall upon me like a garment of woman's underwear tossed upon a soldier during a victory parade. But of course reality is different.
I most probably am influenced by a combination of fantasy adventures and history books read over the years...but of recent I've been getting that feeling that a band of barbarians is going to arrive any moment soon, drive me out of my study, and settle into the farm for the winter. Feasting on my animals, consuming my store of grain and wine and sleeping with my wife and daughters...while I shiver and almost starve in my hiding place up in the mountains.
I will make an effort to connect these thoughts to some of the themes influencing our times. Consider for a moment the last century...which began with such promise and such technological vigor...but somehow went so wrong in the middle and didn't end too good either. The question is: What happened? There are many explanations but one interpretation is perhaps that now and then a form of madness grips us...when people surrender their individual judgment and dignity for the benefit of joining the crowd. History is marked by episodes of manic, destructive behavior. From time to time, crowd psychology runs wild. Mob thinking seizes the imaginations of people. Is this what happened? When ordinary rules are suspended, when sense and civil wisdom that govern behavior in more normal times are put aside for a short while. When our leaders, who most of the time have policies which maintain a stable, docile society, which we call peace and justice, are affected by this madness.
But let us not forget that politics has barbarism at its core -- a willingness to use violence to force people to do what they, the leaders consider proper...but in our own interest naturally. As times become more unstable, a war spirit can grip hold of the leaders of society...the mass psychology that whips up mobs, turns sensible people into morons and leads to the most appalling excesses. Then limits are set aside. This is when the politics of violence is used to force people to do things they would never normally dream of doing in peacetime -- or risk getting killed for disobeying. But what we do not understand beforehand is this...once started these excesses are done, oh so willingly.
Don't be fooled by the apparent stability which surrounds us in the last 50 or so years... mankind is the same creature that roamed wild over the plains and hunted in the forests 5000 and more years ago. Earlier the communists, now the socialists and liberals will have us believe that a New Man has evolved, that our genetic make-up has somehow by the force of wishful thinking been altered. May I quote here Aldous Huxley: "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
April 2000 © John aus Paris