Friday, March 9, 2007

An Eerie Silence

I'll be too busy in late March to post very often, but it doesn't seem as though there will be much cause for posting. There is a strange feeling of suspended motion in the world at large right now -- politically, culturally, economically -- as though folks were waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was ranting earlier about the fascination in mainstream media with celebrity drama, but there's an absence of weightier things to focus on. When the New York Times does a multicolumn color spread on the Bronx house fire, it certainly suggests that the world is in a funny slumber.

Don't get me wrong. With the exception of the Iraq-Afghanistan-Iran mess, there are fewer wars going on globally right now than in centuries, and I cherish that aspect of a global silence. Certainly part of the ennui is due to what Francis Fukuyama called "the end of history" -- as much as he got laughed at, there was an element of truth to his observation that economic globalization suppresses struggles.

But that doesn't fully answer the reasons for this silent season. With significant impacts on the horizon from global warming, and economic inequity growing daily, the world is teetering on the very precipice of a major tipping point. We may whistle our way through a lot of crisis seasons without global calamity, but right now, the world is collectively holding its breath. And paying undue attention to silly things. And waiting. And thinking to itself, "It's quiet out there -- yeah -- almost too quiet."

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