Wrapping up a tumultuous year

It’s almost the end of 2019, and I am wrapping up my blog for the year with a few thoughts; some joyous, some sombre.

The joy is that, for some, Christmas is upon is, as is the New Year. It is a time for family, and to enjoy a brief respite from the labours of the world. As has been earned, and as we should.

But for me this year is also set against a sombre darkness. When I look around at what is happening globally; at the ugly end-game of greed and entitlement into which the neo-liberal revolution of the 1980s has fallen; at the way certain social media platforms amplify polemic and reduce reason to asserted slogans – a litmus test, perhaps, for human nature; and when I look at the way national sentiments around the globe are becoming polarised for deeper-running socio-economic reasons, I have to wonder about where society is going.

Is humanity that shallow, that divided, that hate-filled? I hope not; but still, I fear for our future. We are seeing an unerring drift globally towards the attitudes, ideologies and behaviours that the Second World War was fought to stop. And we are seeing it in some of the democracies who, back then, were prepared to sacrifice much in the name of humanity, lest the world fall into a moral dark age. Do we never learn?

A beautiful picture of Earth from 1.6 million km sunwards. NASA, public domain.

For all that, I am ultimately optimistic. And I hope that the holiday season gives all of us time to enjoy the warmth of family, and to enjoy the goodness of humanity that must, surely – and I very much hope – ultimately triumph.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2019

8 thoughts on “Wrapping up a tumultuous year

  1. Agree with all of this fully. At a key moment in history the world’s governments seem to all be headed by wealth obsessed sorts who think climate change is nonsense. The power of demagogues. People vooting for things that make their lives worse due to petty prejudices and misinformation.

    Well, not all of the world’s governments. But several major ones. Scandinavia certainly seems to be doing well.

    For what it’s worth, I’m continuing on with my fascination with culture: history, tea, food, films, music, video games, and wriiing. Hope your Christmas and New Year relieve some of the bother! And there’s always Pitcairn Island.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think Scandinavia has a pretty good track record of ‘getting it right’ when it comes to these things – they keep hitting the list of the world’s most democratic democracies (as it were). The last list I saw was, in order, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark. (How did NZ become part of Scandinavia?) The wider list is here. Oddly, the US doesn’t seem to feature much: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/economist-intelligence-unit-2017-democracy-index-best-countries-2018-1?r=US&IR=T But as you say, there’s always Pitcairn.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. USA 21st. Yikes. USA! USA! USA! I visited Vermont back in March, a prosperous state where most people are wealthy or comfortable. And yet the inequality across the rest of the country is staggering.

        I had planned a potential move to Sweden, but will have to wait post-Brexit to see whether it’s possible. NZ 4th is very tempting now as well. Plus, you have most of the Lords of the Rings icons living there. I’d love to meet them.

        Anyway, here’s hoping 2020 brings some positive change. And if not that, 2021 etc.

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  2. I’ve often wondered why history is littered with examples of human nature gone ‘rogue’. By that I mean periods during which we seem to have indulged in an orgy of brutality. Then, in the aftermath, we swear it’ll never happen again. Until the next time.

    Without getting all metaphysical, I think humanity fits inside a standard bell curve ranging from pure psychopathy at one extreme, to pure altruism at the other. Everyone else sits in the fat bit in the middle. But that means we share traits from both extremes. Society [sometimes described as enlightened self interest] keeps the more destructive traits in check, most of the time. But every so often, the checks fail and destructive self-interest is allowed out to play. Destruction happens, and then the pendulum swings back the other way again.

    Or at least, that’s how things used to be, back before the nuclear era and human induced climate change. We survived the Cold War, just, but there are grave question marks surrounding our ability to survive runaway climate change. I want to believe we’ll get over ourselves and do what has to be done to survive but… 😦

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  3. Reblogged this on I can't believe it! and commented:
    Matthew Wright’s posts from New Zealand and others across the world show that there are a lot of people who are disturbed about the direction humanity is going, and the apparent regression to the mentality of the 1930s (and we all know where that finished up). Yet his call for optimism and hope is surely the only sensible response for us.

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