Dodging a New Dark Age

Photo by Oleksandra Petrova on Unsplash

Is the much feared “biblical apocalypse” upon us? Just like the Four Horsemen of Doom, we have famine, pestilence, death, and disease among us. And, with the Holy Land up in flames, maybe the “signs” are all too familiar. Turning to more earthly concerns, the Coronavirus has wrought unimaginable havoc on the world and has brought us to the point where many are questioning if the very survival of the human race is in peril. Indeed, with the convergence of economic, political, social, and healthcare systems collapse, one wonders whether we are headed into a “New Dark Age”.

So, whom do we turn to and whom should we propitiate if we are to avoid the fate of the Romans, who like us descended into anarchy and chaos, a Millennia ago. Are we to put our faith in the overriding power of technology, when the same tools and apps infantalize us and make us ever more dependent on a never ending stream of Dopamine “hits” to satiate us and keep us addicted?

Are we to trust the Neoliberal Dogma of endless growth and infinite progress when the same ideology is increasing inequities and is the root cause of the failure of our interconnected world? Indeed, given that mainstream economics is no close to ending poverty or deprivation among the world’s poorest, no wonder that societal tensions and angst driven by despair are leading to violent conflicts worldwide.

Are we to look for Messianic figures who would “liberate” us? When the same saviors who promised to make our countries great again and assured us that the “good days” were around the corner, now look very frail in the midst of befuddling crises. Moreover, shouldn’t we be “saving ourselves” when the state has simply “melted away” when faced with a man-made disaster?

Should we then look for panacea in our communities at a time when social mistrust and corrosive ideologies are making people “turn on” each other, instead of helping each other? More so, when society is disintegrating and it is a nasty, brutish, and bitter war for survival.

Maybe, it is time we shed our “illusions” on what we have accepted blindly and instead, look for ways out that entail questioning our assumptions about just about everything. Indeed, the only way we can “dodge” a New Dark Age is by a radical overhaul of the dominant thought processes and beliefs and dogmas that constrain our ability to think beyond the moment.

This means a New Paradigm that places the “common good” over a “race to the bottom” and a reining belief in the “fallibility” of human nature, as opposed to a Alpha Male scenario, that places charlatans on pedestals and worships false gods. Indeed, this is the time to “look beyond” the normal and in addition, to forge new bonds with each other, irrespective of class, creed, and sects. Far too long, we have allowed hero worship to override our niggling worries about the “leaders” we chose.

It also means that we must resist “techno-utopian-ism” and instead, rediscover the “power of experience” wherein technology becomes an “aid” to our growth, rather than the “end itself”. It also means that we address climate change, beyond speeches and conferences, and that we “tear down” the “myths of progress”. Unless we look beyond the “obvious”, we would be caught in a never ending spiral of disasters and despair that take us nowhere.

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