May you live in interesting times…..

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An old Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times, implies that ‘interesting times’ is a period where change may not necessarily be a good thing.  As we have all seen recently, the changes we are seeing cannot be classed as a good thing.  The world seems to be in chaos, nobody knows what’s good, what’s bad and what’s not real or, using a phrase that appears to be in fashion now, fake news.  Europe is in turmoil and seemingly fighting with a large, soon to be former, partner as it leaves the Union.  America is in unprecedented times with a President that deeply divides the opinions of many Americans and the world watches in horror at the unfolding calamity that is their republican democracy, a deeply partisan two party system that doesn’t appear to be working.  Russia and Asia continue in their autocratic ‘democracy’ and internal unrest festers, waiting to erupt and throw the region into chaos.  Africa continues to be a hotbed of unrest with terrorism and corruption marring the progress being made by the myriad beleaguered countries.

What has happened in the last couple of decades to create such a period of unrest?  It is ironic that many in the west had thought a new era of peace and prosperity had arrived after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s but, instead, a period of unrest and hostility awaited them with wars in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and Sierra Leone, to name a few.  Refugees flooded across the Mediterranean and into Europe due to increased unrest and poverty in Africa.  Gangs, terrorist groups and ethnic groups used this opportunity to increase human trafficking, slavery and prostitution and all the while, the good name of charity organisations were sullied by the corruption of a few bad apples taking advantage of the worsening situation.

So much for peace!

And what do we, the ‘free’ people do about it?

We squabble with each other.  We accuse, recuse and deny.  We turn on each other with such vehemence that hasn’t been seen for generations.  Meanwhile, the instruments of this unrest, the orchestrators of such misery, sit on the sidelines and laugh.  Their machinations unseen because all we see is what we want to see.  And we don’t want to see that.

And the instrument of unrest?  An argument could be that our increased connectivity with the internet could be the problem.  Never has it been easier for information and disinformation to be disseminated.  Most people have subjective opinions and find information that reinforces that opinion and so the cycle continues.  How can the uninformed make an informed decision if they cannot discern what is true and what is not?  With trolls making that decision even harder, how can truth prevail when lies are much more compelling?

We are living in interesting times and I pity the young who may have to live with the consequences of our uninformed and biased decisions.

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