Notwithstanding all the apparent benefits of globalization, and the civilization that spawned it, we have also laid the the foundation and created the conditions for the real possibility of our own demise, as one crippling, novel virus leads inexorably to the next… and so on…
Despite current circumstances, we seem to turn a blind eye to the real conditions on the ground. By this, I mean not simply the emergence of a new, and as yet not well understood, virus threatening the global population. The real challenge is how the trajectory of our culture, our civilization, with its characteristic drive towards universality (globalism), has brought us to the edge of this dangerous precipice.
Specifically, we in the West have promulgated and fostered an agenda of global connectivity and commercial dominance, giving and, in some measure, taking from older, more exotic lifeways. We have uprooted populations, intentionally or not, thereby upsetting critical balances within diverse and radically different societies. The resultant expression of discomfort and disease is a direct consequence of such global-crossings.
I’m not against the removal of international boundaries or engaging in cross-cultural exchange. After all, I’ve done my share of travel as well as lived abroad on several occasions, for ten years in Russian Siberia alone. But such free-flowing interdependent connectivity comes at a cost. And in some instances those costs can be rather steep, medically, psychologically, existentially. Quite simply, they can become matters of life and death. The effects of these global interstices, are what lead, ineluctably, to emergent crises like the pandemic currently infecting our diverse international populations. But as well, the lack of more localized community or village relations, is another area of impact, a major cause of distress. And the threat that such a crisis now poses is never going to vanish, not completely. We have crossed a threshold whose violation cannot be reversed, neither in terms of physical or social issues.
When collectively we left the tribe and the clan, for small villages and towns, it would not be too long before we would cast our lot with city walls and, finally, international conquest and integration. And it was here, in these moves and with that huge stretch, where we slammed up against the limits of growth, and the unfavorable realities of dis-integration on a very personal level. Our current dilemma cannot find resolution simply through social distancing. We are, by nature, social creatures. This is existentially incompatible with who we are. So what can we do? Well, we can begin by restructuring the way we live, the demographics, the density, the very instability of the old structures. They are fragile and ultimately incompatible with life in this brave new world.