7 Billion, That’s with a “B”
Try my best to keep this short. There’s an old Chinese curse: “may you live in interesting times.” If you get a degree or so in history the curse has special meaning to it, generally speaking, you don’t spend much time studying the uninteresting times. Even if you teach history you don’t spend much time teaching the uninteresting times, especially high school history where if you want to keep the student’s attention there’s really one rule,”carnage candy.” Now you do have to be a little socially off to study history, you have to be able to say to yourself, “that’s disgusting, I have to learn more about it,” & a fair few times you have to be able to look at a decayed corpse of your human brethren & be fascinated by it, not repulsed. Yes it’s a dead body, yes it smells, but you know what, that body has a story to tell, & no matter how close it looks to the Crypt Keeper, you sort of have to be more focused on the potential story behind what Lindow Man has to tell you rather than how utterly disgusting he looks. Besides mummies usually smell good, kind of like incense.
Despite the fascination with the morbid, unless you’re talking to a complete psychopath, if you ask a historian what time he or she would most like to live in, chances are, they aren’t going to answer with the time period they specialize in. You won’t hear “Yes, I’d like to live in America during the Civil War,” or, “I would love to be alive in Russia during Stalin’s Purges,” it’s probably not going to happen. They are, more often than not, going to pick a time & place that they’ve never spent much time teaching about. If you live in the interesting times, you’re likely to see your family slaughtered, brother pitted against brother, or just end up working yourself to death in Siberia. Even if you keep your head down and your mouth shut.
It’s a wonder we’re still here at all, let alone now have 7 Billion people.
And that poor 7th Billion person was born into one of the most interesting times this world has ever seen. Let’s recap.
1) There’s a protest on Wall Street that has spread to LA, & over seas to China, Germany, England, Spain, & so on. This has never really happened before in the world, at least not the way it’s happening now, & the prospects for the future are ominous. Generally, when these things happen, the powers that be are less than understanding about it, we’re probably lucky Obama is attempting to buy them off with trinkets, you know, rather than locking them away in a nameless prison & forcing them to work themselves to death in Siberia.
2) There was a very recent nuclear meltdown in Japan, & currently a protest requesting an end to nuclear power, & if not that, the Japanese government should at least move people out of the area & give them the medical attention they need.
3) There’s a global food shortage, especially in India where thousands of farmers are offing themselves in record numbers due to the debt that is causing the famine. Famines, recently, are financial. Black 47 was a year where Ireland was creating enough food to feed the Irish, but instead it was being sent over to England, at a mark-up, a country that already had enough food. In this case, the cause is Monsanto. Monsanto is a private company that controls our world’s food source, or at least the seed stock, India & a number of other countries can’t afford to buy the genetically altered seeds from the company, at least without out & out bankruptcy, & they can’t save seed either, because these seeds kill themselves. So again we have famine, for profit. There’s enough food out there, but you’re probably not going to eat any of it, number 7 Billion, in enough time, I probably won’t either, unless something drastic & utterly depressing happens to the world.
4) Let’s not forget about the Arab Spring. The Eastern World, it is exploding, violence flaring, bullets loading, & all that & a bag of chips. It’s not exactly a singular thing, it’s called the Arab Spring because it’s happening all over that part of the world. No one in any type of authority, podium, press, or pulpit, can tell you the outcome, chaos & carnage, & Saudi Arabia is doing their best to oppress the spirit of the Arab Spring out of their people & using Blackwater to do it, which, usually backfires, horribly.
5) And of course there’s the global money shortage, strikes in Greece, all that manner of Global Feudal nastiness that brings us back to 1 through 4. Let’s face facts here, number 7 Billion is born into a world that has grown sick & tired of being serfs to the upper-class. It doesn’t bode well, at least to all of us with a long enough memory to remember the global spark of revolution, violence, & reigns of terror that brought the end to feudalism about 300-years-ago.
6) And then there’s peace in Ireland. Bono & Clinton forced Adams & Blair to sit down & talk things out, despite the snakes Patrick left in the north. The Troubles could be essentially over. Saint John the Divine added that little point as a harbinger of doom for the world, the first mark of the coming of the end times, & he wrote his little gem of misinterpreted gospel about 600 years before Henry II started that mess. Not to mention the fact that the Stone of Scone is back in Scotland.
OK, maybe number 6 was a fairly dark joke, but just as Europe is getting it’s act together & has stopped killing each other over money & empire, they’ve hit the global economic block. Thank God they have a social state-based safety net, otherwise they may be as hard up as we are here in the states. But I don’t know, England is privatizing their medical system aren’t they? Not a good idea. Just ask how much my sister had to pay to give birth to my nephew.
So welcome to the World number 7 Billion, I hope you survive the experience.