We talk about finding intelligent life on other planets but some of us are still searching for it here on Earth. If we were to be aliens observing this little blue dot from afar then this year we would’ve witnessed a species tearing itself apart. Meanwhile the real intelligent species of this world—those which hitherto have survived for many thousands of years—are now struggling to make it through another decade. It breaks my heart to see such a beautiful potential going to waste. A portrait of Mother Earth going up in flames.
Yet in my heart of hearts I know that this analysis isn’t the true picture. For one thing human beings are extremely intelligent; rather it is the system which we endure that is observably foolish. Like animals in a harsh environment, we are forced to adapt to it or our individual struggle is over. Such is our nature that many of us accept without question that such a struggle is perfectly necessary, that such inequality and the misery it brings is just an unfortunate by-product of liberal democracy. But many more of us can see the system for what it really is.
These times are critical. In order for our species to reach its potential we have to reject the obscene notion that inequality is perfectly normal, that the future belongs to them, that this is all there is to the human experience. We have to reject the endgame of neoliberalism, shatter the foundations of what Sheldon Wolin aptly referred to as inverted totalitarianism. But more than reject, we also have to create alternatives which allow us to tune into the ever present frequency that allows compassion for all creatures to flourish.
As 2017 fades into a distant but terrifying nightmare, let’s make 2018 a new day.
Everything else won’t save us now.