Next week begins the year 2023. When we look at 2022, there is very little to be pleased with. Above all, the war in Ukraine has disrupted the world on many levels. It has devastated one country, exhausted another, sent energy prices skyrocketing around the world, and disrupted the economy of the entire planet. Even without the war, the economy was in poor shape, and industry has not recovered from the impact of Covid, but the two blows combined were a hard hit on all of us. Additionally, abysmal international relations, extreme weather events, spreading substance abuse, and social degeneration have all contributed to a well-founded sensation that things are going downhill fast, and on a global level.
When a person is sick, the most important task, and often the biggest challenge, is to achieve a quick and clear diagnosis. Usually, once you diagnose the problem, the prognosis is clear and the possible treatment plans are easier to put together.
But for some reason, as a society, despite all the symptoms pointing to the pathogen being animosity among all parts of humanity, we keep ignoring it. Instead of looking for the cause, we insist on trying to alleviate the symptoms. Not surprisingly, the symptoms are getting worse, and the disease of animosity is spreading and intensifying. When it reaches the level where people cannot tolerate each other’s existence, World War III will break out.
When you think about it, it could have been funny if the joke were not on us. Educated grownups, in charge of the fate of humanity, are bickering like kindergarten children in a sandbox. Their teacher is trying to make them behave, to be kind and considerate, explaining that they will all benefit from being kinder to each other, but the kids are obtuse, obstinate, and mainly coldhearted.
In such a state, the teacher will have no choice but to punish the children, namely the nations, even harder in the next class, the class of 2023. China, for example, where Covid originated, has had to abandon its draconian “zero Covid” policy, and reports from there indicate that tens of millions are catching the virus each day, and hospitals are collapsing. Millions are expected to die in the next few months.
The war in Ukraine does not seem like it is going to end soon, Ukrainian energy infrastructure has been all but demolished, while Russia, the demolisher, is depleting its already worn-thin reserves through mandatory drafting. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled the country in an effort to dodge being sent as cannon fodder to Ukraine.
The economy, too, does not seem to be recovering, and we can expect 2023 to be a tough year on that end, too.
And perhaps as a prelude, North America spent Christmas fighting a combination of freezing temperatures, gale force winds, and heavy snow, causing millions to spend the holiday without power, heat, or a way to escape. The death toll of this “bomb cyclone,” as meteorologists refer to it, is as yet unknown, but it is already known that dozens of people simply froze to death in stranded cars, while national guards are going door to door in many cities looking for casualties who died of hypothermia in their own homes.
Since we are not learning, I think that just as teachers do with obnoxious and rebellious children, the first thing we need to do in order to begin to remedy the situation is silence everyone, and tie everyone’s hands so they cannot keep fighting. I am not saying this is easy, and I am not sure who should or can do this, but if we want to be able to reason with each other, then any country that behaves like a bully should be disconnected from the family of nations, clear and simple. Only fear will force countries to think twice before they initiate aggression.
At the same time, we should continue to propagate the message that only if we work together will we improve our situation. We should show, however we can, that aggression does not pay.
Lastly, we should try to show, as much as we can, the benefits of cooperation. At the very least, people need to have an alternative to aggression in mind. Perhaps if people suffer long enough, their minds will open to other modes of action besides brute force, and to other paradigms besides “survival of the fittest.”
I am not optimistic; I do not feel that humanity is ready to listen, but as long as we are able, it is our duty to insist that there are alternatives to war and hatred, alternatives that benefit everyone rather than inflict anguish and destruction on humanity.