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Rethinking Absurdity
Thursday, 24 July 2008 12:58
by Pablo Ouziel

The turbulent times are upon us and I can no longer determine if it is a crisis of confidence, a run on the bank, a recession, a depression or a simple slowdown. People of all colours and fields have been using such terms to try and pinpoint the truth and magnitude of our global situation. Some have paralleled events, describing links between tragedies. The tragedy in Iraq as a link to the financial collapse of America, the Twin Towers as the price paid for years of external aggression by Imperial power, but truly I wonder if these are outdated approaches to understanding the true state of the world. I question whether the coming generations, those who one day will take the reigns of the world, will be so obtuse in their understanding of a simple equation which is clearly imbalanced.

I wonder if the new visionaries of the world, the vanguard which is obviously still gestating (metaphorically speaking), will continue developing on our warped ideal of a world with fake democracies, phoney altruistic wars, and unsustainable lifestyles. Or whether they will contemplate the world in a holistic way, understanding that those big problems which we are obviously facing, may have really simple answers. Answers which could prove difficult, but which nevertheless at this stage of the game are worth serious consideration.

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At a time when mortgage lenders, construction companies, banks and many other businesses are simply collapsing, when a large quantity of the global population is suffering under atrocious inhumane conditions, and the environment is being punished at a pace never seen before, it seems like the right time for thinking outside of the box. Obviously global leaders are not doing so. If they were, they would all be apologizing to their people and to the world. Conflicts between nations would be resolved, the whole world would disarm, and the global population would set to work in providing solutions to the tragic reality which we are already facing. But these words belong to the vanguard, and the sad truth of the vanguard is that it must coexist with the existing frame of collective thought, until events unfold which force the majority to some kind of global collective action. That will still take some time, but there have been events creeping up which show us that the masses are not yet fully asleep. It is true that nowadays it is easier to see a collective of people united behind a football team, than behind an altruistic cause, but the importance is that the collective element is still present and within it lies the path to an alternative global reality. That in itself is worth exploration.

As the time for serious introspection arises, it is necessary for humanity to determine how to treat those politicians who have lied to their people, to decide what course of action to take towards those military generals who have participated and promoted wars which were clearly unjustified. It is also unavoidable to face the honest moral dilemma of what to do with those bankers, businessmen and lawyers who have used their knowledge of the law and their understanding of the markets, to bankrupt whole nations bringing their populations to their knees, but one must never fall into the simplistic vision of a world were a few bad apples have spoiled the game for the rest of humanity.

Humanity must punish those who promoted and capitalised on this adventure we have embarked on, this adventure of the promotion of peace and prosperity while undergoing a process of war and misery, but unless we have genuinely opposed it with all our might, we must understand that we are also responsible. Let us punish and let us repent, but more importantly, let us change. The absurdity of it all is that it is all incredibly elementary, yet we seem determined to continue complicating matters further with the metaphysical goal of sustaining an unsustainable situation, which is crushing all those ideals we all seemed to be fighting for. I wonder if humanity is preparing itself for a second chance at Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, in which this time the chained prisoner after breaking lose and seeing the sun, is able to go back into the cave and convince his fellow prisoners of an alternate reality.

Pablo Ouziel is a sociologist and freelance writer
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