FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Transitional Times or the End Times?

Many there are, who seeing the violent turmoil raging throughout large parts of the world, together with the devastating impact of man-made climate change, fear humanity and the planet is on the verge of destruction. Those religiously inclined – particularly those sitting on the far right of the spectrum, point towards various passages in sacred texts, which they believe accurately describe these times and proclaim them to be ‘the end times’. Apocalyptically understood, through the prism of doctrine, to be not simply the annihilation of a sin-drenched humanity who according to the ‘judgment of the just’ no doubt deserve it, but the obliteration of the Earth itself. This doom-laden interpretation of events cultivates fear, suffocates hope and fails to recognise the good amongst the black flags and chaos.

Fortunately there is an alternative, sunnier view of the present time, a common sense albeit controversial vision that creates hope (something that is in short supply), not fear and despair. It is a quieter voice which remains largely buried under the worldwide blanket of anxiety and insecurity, it says these are not ‘the end times’ but transitional times; that we are not witnessing the ‘end of the world’ or the slow demise of humanity, but the final cries of a crumbling civilisation in terminal decline. A civilisation built over the last two thousand years or so in response to certain conditioning influences promoting specific values and ways of living; an out-dated and in many ways, to many people, inadequate mode of organising society that is now collapsing, and rightly so.

That there is great resistance to change is clear; those who have benefitted most under the present socio-economic model, fearful of lost privilege, seek to tighten their grip on power and silence those troublesome radicals demanding social justice, freedom, environmental responsibility and democratic participation. Regime response to social revolutions throughout North Africa – the ‘Arab Spring’ – violent suppression in Turkey and Brazil, Thailand and Venezuela, are examples of governments’ unyielding brutal response to the united cries of the people. Cries that have echoed throughout the world, north south, east and west over the past thirty years or so, in an unprecedented movement of popular activism to claw back rights and liberties, confront government corruption and demand social justice, as well as standing up to corporate development plans led by ideologically driven international agencies (namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank) and environmental abuse. Huge numbers have marched, demonstrated and rallied: ‘people power’ – ‘the worlds second superpower’ is perhaps the brightest spark of optimism in the world and is one of the clearest signs of the times in which we are living: times of change, times of transition and action, times of opportunity and hope.

Perennial values re-discovered

Sitting at the decaying heart of the present socio-political structures, aggressively dominating all areas of contemporary life is neo-liberal capitalism (or market fundamentalism). A product of the ideological environment of the time it has cultivated certain values, which without fear of contradiction we might term materialistic: values promoting individual success and ambition, encouraging greed, selfishness and social division that condition motives and distort actions. Deep within the festering ground of inequality and division, the seeds of conflict and turmoil, watered by despair and exclusion, flourish. Nations, regions as well as individuals, are forced to compete against one another, feeding nationalism, separation and conflict. Ideologically driven division has fuelled totalitarianism and extremism: political, economic, social, and, perhaps the darkest most dangerous manifestation, religious – as current events in Iraq reveal.

Die-hard devotees of the individualistic values of division – from which ideologies of all kinds have flowed – proclaim them to be the outcome of human nature. Sown into the genetic fabric of animal man they are inevitable, have always driven humanity, and always shall, consequentially neither materialistic values nor their elite exponents can be challenged much less changed. These believers, many of whom profit handsomely from the system, have sought to close down the intellectual space, to stifle debate and tarnish dissenting voices as naive idealists who lack the strength of character to compete with the high-octane sharp shooters, who, seduced by the promise of material reward are content to destroy homes, cultures, lives and land in the fulfilment of their personal ambitions.

Life has been defined in increasingly unimaginative material terms: the pursuit of pleasure encouraged, selfish desire championed; wonder and mystery dismissed, the unexplained ignored. In the land of ‘the individual’, conformity insisted on. Nowhere is this more evident than in education, as Noam Chomsky says: “the whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.” Institutions – both state and corporate – that know well the dangers of independent thinking and daydreaming.

The nature of modernity itself needs re-defining, the purpose of life re-evaluating, a new civilisation built. And if one looks beneath the chaos and surface detritus, if one connects the diverse movements, developments and actions, the embryonic signs of a new time, of peaceful potential and unity can be seen – heralds of a new and just civilisation. One rooted in altogether different values to the existing ideologically driven paradigm, based on perennial values of goodness known and extolled for millennia, but largely unexpressed: values of peace, brotherhood, freedom and justice, tolerance, cooperation and understanding. Nothing radically revolutionary, but ideals re-assessed, re-discovered, understood and pragmatically applied to the forms, political, economic and social, which draw the shape of the society in which we live.

Graham Peebles is director of the Create Trust. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org

More articles by:

Graham Peebles is a freelance writer. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org  

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail