Monday, November 20, 2023

The Future

The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse (1902)

Protracted combat for which there seems no end (in Ukraine and the Mideast) is not a new phenomenon. There was the Hundred Years’ War between England and France and the Thirty Years War which culminated in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) wherein the modern nation state was born. Wars are bitter divorces which remake alliances and, to extend the metaphor, also create strange bedfellows. Who knows what the complexion of the world will be? Is it a game of musical chairs in which random parties simply grab the first prospect they encounter, like a couple on the rebound? Or does history ever evolve in a way that makes sense? Hegel proposed a dialectic in which Communism is actually born from the womb of the capitalist state. Similarly free market capitalism became the force which eradicated feudalism with its inherited fiefdoms and rights. Today meritocracy is the new elixir. During Arab Spring it was thought technocracy would create an equanimity as people identified with each other because of their Apples. The brand name would supplant arcane tribal and ethnic identifications. Of course this was wrong. Undoubtedly ISIS militants enjoyed the Apples they pilfered, without bothering to see themselves in the dead. Would that there were a crystal ball? Unfortunately, the future is one of the mysteries that science has yet to solve. Nikki Haley?

read the review of Francis Levy's The Kafka Studies Department in Booklife

and listen to this rendition of "Something is Wrong With My Baby" (1967) by Sam and Dave

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