For a little lesson in semantic analysis. In Greek, the word was also applied to the torment of men being tested with torture. The Greek word for “torture” is derived from the word for “touchstone” and may refer to the torment of imprisonment to which Man is destined to be consigned, locked away in the securest of prison–death itself. In English, “touchstone” means “a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing.
“I promise you that this will be the final war –the war to end all wars.’-Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President (1913-21). Those were the high expectations of one world leader at the end of World War 1, about 90 years ago. That global conflict was so horrendous that the victors wanted–and needed–to believe that their many sacrifices would bring lasting benefits.
But human wars rarely solve problems, let alone eliminate the deep-rooted problem of war itself. About 20 years after President Wilson made that rash promise, the second world war erupted. It caused much more death and destruction than its predecessor. Two decades of technological advances had made mankind more adept at mass killing. As the second world war came to an end, global leaders realized that the spectre of war loomed larger than life.
In 1945, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur proclaimed: “We have had our last chance. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.” General MacArthur knew what two atomic bombs had done to Nagasaki and Hiroshima during the final days of the second world war. The appalling destruction unleashed on those two Japanese cities led him to ascribe a new meaning to the word “Armageddon”–an all-out nuclear conflagration and chemical weaponry that could mean the end of civilisation on planet earth and the only planet suitable and friendly habitat for the human constitution.
Because of what is happening all over the world, war of attrition, expansionist tendencies, hunger, poverty and so on, one is forced to ask, what is the future for the earth. Indeed, today the earth is being ruined by several cases of abuse, of human rights, of precious resources, such as water, forests, and the delicately balanced ecosystems and atmosphere. The world has been warned of threats by such things as a large meteorite, an exploding star, or the exhaustion of the sun’s hydrogen fuel.
Let’s consider a few details about the earth and living beings:
i. Since the 19th century, human activity has caused more than 200 strong earthquakes, says a report in the German newspaper Die Zeit Mining triggered half of these earthquakes. Other causes appear to be the extraction of gas, oil or water through global reclamation exercises; fluid injection; and the creation of reservoirs.
ii. Between 10 and 14 billion rounds of ammunition are produced every year, enough bullets to kill every person in the world twice over. As the inhabitants of the world have turned themselves to sworn enemies in a ‘pepper and eyes’ relationship.
iii. Killings, extrajudicial killings that were making mincemeat of the Creator’s sacred injunction repeated in the Mosaic Law, that forbade the consumption of blood and killings.
iv. Rich or poor, many people fail to see the link between their habits and their health as a matter of chance or as something over which they have little control. Such a fatalistic view, (in Yoruba’s parlance, “ikúkan ló ma pà’yàn“), hold many back from improving their health and leading a more productive life. Even now, an
the odour of embalming fluid, aromatic, sweet and sickening wafted into my nostrils, probably from a clinic nearby.
v. In some lands, obtaining clean water can be hard work and is expensive. Yet, drinking water is vital to survival. Dirty water is said to have killed more people than wars or earthquakes.
v. There comes the onslaught of serious ailments that attacks the human respiratory system. Reduced quality of life and needlessly shortening it. Increased sufferings, more time lost to illnesses, and more money spent on medical bills.
vi. Most people no longer have trust in their religious faith, majority have lost confidence in religion and its institutions and their leaders. In my country Nigeria, where loyalty to the Church has been legendary scandals that have recently rocked the church and its endless list of general overseers are blamed for the fact that public trust in it has ‘plummeted.’ The credibility gap caused by the clergy’s indiscretion and integrity has resulted in its largest institutional crisis in decades, possibly in church history.
vii. A university education is no longer a guarantee of a job. Every year universities, polytechnics and colleges of education are producing tens of thousands of graduates that are not fitting into society and who simply end up among the unemployed, as the institutions keep churning out a long list of unemployable graduates because their courses are incompatible with what jobs are available.
viii. The concerns about a possible nuclear Holocaust continue to plague Man in a world where superpowers had as far as the 1960s devised a strategy of MAD, “mutually assured destruction.” Their goal was to have sufficient missiles or delivery systems to guarantee the destruction of 25 percent of the enemy’s civilian population and 50 percent of the industrial capacity–regardless of which side started the conflict. Few people found much comfort in this strategy for conserving world peace.
ix. Scientists have recognised that innate tendency in humans towards disorder in all physical things and the perishability in all matter of creation and revealing politics and governments as a fraud.
Today, nuclear weapons proliferate and regional wars or threats of same and nuclear cataclysm continue to cause untold numbers of deaths. The possibility of a nuclear conflagration that will touch the lives of everyone on earth still threatens mankind. Although people long to see an end to war, few believe that a war or any other strategy could achieve this goal. It was battles, decisive battles, that determined the very course of civilisation, will battles, completely decisive battles not end same, you are wont to ask.
Although many past wars fought have proved not decisive for world peace, none eliminated wickedness, self-centredness or corruption in the human psyche. None really pitted the forces of good against the forces of evil, in the absolute sense. It’s all hooey! Logically, that type of conflict must originate with God. If
i-ix, above do not shock the world to rethink assumptions and assessment about the world’s conditions, I don’t know what else will.
I checked my inner feelings at the world’s precarious conditions, a world that has not learned to settled down, and a disunited UN equipped, and saddled, and expected to as a united front and force bail the globe out of its present quagmires. What I saw was a politicised UN that is a realistic waxwork in an exhibition of horrors, pushing the world through warped perceptions, wrong priorities and lacking in a united will, drive and direction. That’s the worth of bringing repressed individuals as Home representatives to a joint like the UN. Not blaisé! It must cut out the histrionics and intellectual pretensions and begin to see the big pictures.
With the increase in human freight and trafficking, increase use of hard drugs and narcotics, gun-totting and arms smuggling, and
alcoholism’s the world has as much chance of surviving as a scoop of ice cream dropped in a furnace. Thus, the world needed a fast intelligence flow and modalities for speedy intelligence in its management and efforts geared to keep the globe afloat, and safe and peaceful. But it needs the truth of the big picture to get its psyche readjusted.
These times are terrible. A time the world is fighting so many battles from so many fronts, and these are battles that must be won. I looked at the mirror hanging opposite my writing desk, the eyes that stared back at me look like little pools of ice, as I reflected on a world that kept going on as if nothing was happening.
With so many billionaires and so much money in the world, paper money and investment portfolios and resources, something basic is changing on the globe’s social, political, and economic scenes, something that is having profound impact and effects on its people. I tried to imagine what the future, mine and the world portend. What was going to happen to humans lot with accidents, health concerns, all forms of cancers, injustices, corruption, covid-19 issues et al and the world’s well-being?
Life’s hard but not bad, but that sentiment would not apply to some millions worldwide including children sent to the street to fend for themselves for many soul-destroying years. Parents dreaded half-heartedly the almost certain prospect of unwanted pregnancy and children breastfeeding their own babies. In the street below a child yelled, a woman called across the street to another woman asking about her children whereabouts.
The world’s best hope is that something will provide the necessary lead time for the world powers to develop their strategies of adjustments. It’s been hard, but not really bad, and nothing really bad must be allowed to happen to our world. In spite of the fact that the values began in the war period, its causes still dwell somewhere in the realm of theories and conjectures. But, clearly, expectations are on the march.
The expectations have consequentially created new areas of instability, new situation of tension, and the world have been caught in the web. It will be perhaps misleading in an age and world of discontinuous change, to in any order, single out any particular trends, but, the world can focus on:
a. the phenomenon of changing values and global expectations,
b. the protracted economic meltdown and or downturn that has willy-nilly excavate extraordinary political acrobatics around the world.
Both of which are beginning to make the streams of global thoughts to flow in quite different directions and to wit: ‘principled’ self-centredness, thus making everyone look like a fugitive from a nightmare.
It seems logical, therefore, to conclude that the UN must, as one condition for success expand its forecasting system as motivation, even as it,
i. upped its ante as it tried to provide a judicious mingling of global peace with the gaiety of strong moral social intercourse,
ii. such a course is the antithesis of global unity and equality in its diversity, and would be essential for the world’s future vitality,
iii. it must be further engaged in proactive strategies to deal with the global security, social, economic and political forces.
There’s the need for a major adjustment, transformation and realignments in a world that appears to be blind, and with blindness, it flicked its muscles the way a horse flicks its muscles to get rid of flies. The adjustments would be greater. However, it only needs to consider the changing values inherent in the new perceptions about right and wrong, about the right relationships across the globe in its economics, ecology, balanced businesses and trade, politics and society.
The world has the direness and in earnest to search for renewing power for the world’s supply of resources which at first seem inexhaustible–including the solar system that the world depends on for stability, light, and energy before they descend into total disorder and ultimate destruction. It won’t get anyone anywhere to jump off the deep end.
With everyone’s face turned to the morning sky, the light of the old world appeared to be fading in the light of the new dawn. Everything looked nice, but to me, it looked a long way away.
Baffled by a world of colours, shape, and perspective, the world is still dazed and unable to recognise its precarious position and making good sense of what it should be. There is something deeply soothing about the present state of the world and its tenants getting cast-iron arteries through it all. I want to hear the news of the present world conditions and circumstances spoken in a language I didn’t understand because too often I don’t like what I hear in English. #jimibickersteth
Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and writer.
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