Allow me to endorse a story to help you combat the summer doldrums:
The title of this dispatch was given by Anthony Burgess to one of his last novels, a curious literary artifact that blended the imaginary biography of Sigmund Freud, a Broadway musical starring Trotsky and the end of our civilization after the impact of another planet on Earth.
It is said that he wrote it after he saw President Carter watching three television screens with three different programs at the same time, in an attempt to grasp with a single glance the multiple and variable reality, multilevel as Pedro Sanchez would say. The book was also published in the midst of the Cold War, when the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction allowed us to speculate on the proximity of the Last Judgment.
In the dystopia of the unforgettable author of A Clockwork Orange, reflections on sexuality and the subconscious, the end of capitalism, the destruction of the world and the escape to a new galaxy as the only solution for survival were mixed. There are many scientific fables in this regard and, although we are accustomed to classify them as futuristic fictions, Stephen Hawking had already warned us, shortly before his death and the official recognition of the current pandemic, about the real threats to the survival of our species. The first of these was an epidemic caused by a virus that would circumvent laboratory security measures; the other lethal challenges were, he said, global warming, which would eventually turn the Earth into a ball of fire, nuclear war and the rebellion of artificial intelligence against its creator, man. If man were not able to face such challenges, our species would be forced to migrate to distant planets in order to survive. All this in a time span of only a few hundred years.
Luc Montagnier, discoverer of the AIDS virus, warned at the beginning of the current pandemic of his conviction that the cause of covid-19 had been created and manipulated by the hand of man, by wise molecular biologists. It would have been distributed globally after an accidental escape from the laboratory. This possibility, at first angrily denied by all kinds of political and scientific authorities, has once again raised questions among many governments and the World Health Organization itself.
These new messengers of the Apocalypse, with remarkable scientific credentials behind them, nevertheless suffered the scorn of brainy elites who instead profess blind faith in such mysterious doctrines as the resurrection of the flesh. Whether or not they are right in their dark omens, and it seems that they are at least partly right, they have contributed to the construction of a new myth about Humanity and its emerging civilization. Alessandro Baricco wrote months ago a brilliant pamphlet on the pandemic as a mythological element of what cheesy politicians have swollen to call the new normal. Reading the newspapers and immersion in social networks and mass media allows us to see to what extent the short-termism of those in power prevents them from understanding that we may not yet be witnessing the end of the news about the world, but at least the true end of our History. The one that is now beginning is structured by two realities never before experienced by Humanity: an absolute globalization, governed more and more by machine intelligence, and an uncontrolled overpopulation, about which there is little debate in political circles, despite the fact that it is the focus of the greatest problems of inequality, famine and mortality of our species.
The accumulation of climatic disorders, uncontrolled violence, sudden famines, popular revolts and social conflicts occurred in the midst of a crisis of political representation such as had not been seen since the years prior to World War II. The troubled management of the pandemic by most of the developed countries; the improvisation of decisions; the propagandistic use of health measures, so often confusing and contradictory; the authoritarian impulses at the time of taking them, combined with the flight from responsibility of so many rulers; the lack of solidarity of the rich countries with the inhabitants of the needy; the invasion of private life in the name of collective rights; the triage between the elderly with and without a future, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated, are just a few examples of an order that is coming to an end. On the five continents, the slogans of every man for himself are spreading, and the formerly civilized world is preparing to organize ministries of truth to protect it from the truth itself. So the new normality will neither be new nor normal. It will take us back to a past time subjected to warlords, even if their weapons are now cybernetic. And to a world order in which red lights are already flashing, warning us of the greatest danger besetting democracy: the destruction of wisdom, humiliated by the claim of identity.
In the face of these reflections, the vulgarity of many political pronouncements blushes. The tendency of so many leaders to puff up their chests, whatever their name and wherever they live, only speaks of the argumentative poverty behind their decisions. It is no longer surprising that the Spanish president, after renouncing to lead the fight against the pandemic by endorsing it to the autonomous regions when not to the courts, recurrently insists on singing his victories in this regard. This, in a week in which Spain heads the risk areas of the European continent. His attitude is not very different from that of so many presidents or heads of government who take measures with one eye on the health of citizens and the other on their electoral behavior. It doesn’t matter that time and again they declare that they have defeated the virus and announce the arrival of the new era, dazzling in economy and happiness. Previously announced by Hurricane Katrina, the new era is already here, with the rivers of Germany, Belgium or China overflowing today; California on fire; the stands of the Olympic stadium in Tokyo empty; hugs forbidden; young people accused of irresponsibility, blamed; millions of companies evicted; unemployment multiplied; populations divided and diminished, with millions of deaths that do not make up the official statistics. This unhinged developed world, which forcibly represses those fleeing their countries beset by hunger, disease, pressure and imprisonment, now apologizes for having enslaved its former colonies while continuing to condemn their inhabitants to discrimination and despair. This is the world of today and will be the world of tomorrow for some time to come.
That is why we should not scorn the attempts of Branson, Bezos or Musk, nor ridicule their astronaut dabbling. It is not space tourism they are pursuing, but the possibility of colonizing the universe when the human species ends up committing suicide itself, a victim of the selfishness and foolishness of many of its leaders, bent on falsifying the future and manipulating history. Stephen Hawking has already named the four horsemen of the Apocalypse announced by the apostle. In view of this, if those in charge of doing so do not straighten the course, they have everything to gain.