The UK based Collins Dictionary has chosen “permacrisis” as its word of the year for 2022. The word “permacrisis” describes “an extended period of instability and insecurity.” It is one of several words Collins highlights that refer to ongoing crises, which include political instability, the war in Ukraine, climate change, and the cost of living. I believe that this is not a crisis, yet; it is more of a promo for the real thing. The real crisis is still a few years away, but the decline toward it has long begun.
The crises are not inescapable. We would prevent them if we resolved to do it. But because we care only about our own interests, we cannot agree on comprehensive solutions. When the real crisis unfolds, however, it will not distinguish between us and will strike everyone.
For now, humanity, or at least the affluent part of it, the part that can prevent humanity from sliding into a chasm, is not really suffering. It can see the clouds on the horizon, but for lack of immediate danger, it flows with the current. Where are we going? No one knows, but it is nowhere good.
We do not need particular knowledge or special skills in order to solve the crises. Nor do we need a lot of money. All we need is the will to unite and work together to carry out our resolutions. The spirit of accord itself will make the difference. Because division is the problem, cohesion is the solution. Regrettably, we cannot, or will not agree, so we go with the flow. However, we must remember that the current leads to the waterfall.
It is not as if we are particularly jaded in the face of the multiple crises afflicting humanity. It is human nature to wait for the last minute, to hang on to the familiar and hope for a turn for the best. But there are no turns for the better, since we interpret “best” as “best for me” while life promotes what is best for everyone.
If we cared about others and wanted to improve everyone’s lives, we would align ourselves with reality and in this way, eliminate all the crises. Our personal and local crises would disappear since all the crises around us would be gone, as they all arise, as just written, from intransigence, from obstinacy.
The permacrisis, therefore, is not due to climate change, a local war, or inflation. It is the result of narcissism. When we stop trying to improve things only for ourselves, and start searching for ways to help everyone, we will help ourselves, as well, and the permacrisis will become perma-peace and lasting satisfaction.