AAs this catastrophic year winds down, there are a few important lessons that demand our attention and reflection.
The first is a simple question; can you define irony? Not in a literary sense, but in the practical and relevant application to our lives? Simply put, irony is the unintended consequence of our actions. The exact opposite of what we intended. A firehouse burns down. A woman dies giving birth.
Eighty years ago, we ended a war by creating weapons that potentially could end all human life. But by creating these weapons that could end the world, we prevented just that.
Irony is guided by human folly. The thousands of nuclear weapons stockpiled around the globe are not, as Reagan once proclaimed, Peacemakers, anymore than Shakespeare’s pen the source of his brilliance. Humans are inherently flawed, which ironically, is the source of our strength. For thousands of years, humankind has struggled through every imaginable blight; wars, disease, and the natural evolution of thought and its consequences. We live longer, live better, and yet demonstrate an ability to self-destruct that shakes philosophers to their core. What’s wrong with us?
We need to better understand the basic principles of the quantum experience; that we no longer live in countries; that the Atlantic and Pacific can no longer protect us. That the fences we have built to protect us have instead caged us, and are preventing the very travelers we need to survive.
So what is the glaring irony of 2020? That we are never alone. That every Asian wet market, every insider trade, every isolated massacre, every piece of trash out the window, is our business. We cannot survive if the fish die, or the glaciers melt, or the air burns, or the well that is our souls becomes poisoned with hate and despair.
The irony of one is that we are, all of us, together in this.
And the clock is ticking.