“These are strange and uncertain times that we are living in.” What a cliché. It is sheer vanity that makes us think that we are special in this respect. Strangeness and uncertainty have been our ally since year one. The world seems to have fallen into a state of confusion. The steps taken towards freedom seem to have been washed away by the torrential rains of ‘global warming’. The rise of popular ignorance in the UK and the USA leads a sensible person to worry where the future lies. If we put our inflated sense of ourselves to one side, we see that adversity is our friend and from ignorance comes enlightenment and from chaos comes order.

71 years ago the Nazi hordes were defeated and a bright future seemed to lie ahead. It is quite shocking to see fascism show its ugly deformed face again. People who call themselves patriots have blindly adopted the stance of Hitler’s disciples. The Swastika has become a symbol of rebellion for some disillusioned pockets in the western world. To take some wisdom from the Ancient historian Polybius, the young men of today have not tasted the bitterness of war and the horrors of the past have faded from the immediate memory.[1] War games have desensitised us and constant images of war-torn countries that are plastered across the TV screen make us think that these things are normal. The technological advances that were made drove humanity into a new Age of Enlightenment. It is possible that all this new information that is accessible to anyone opened a door of ignorance that is impossible to close. It cannot be denied that there have been great benefits to the vast amounts of information provided by the internet but it has also allowed the rise of disinformation and allowed the ignorant mind to find reinforcement and structure to their destructive ideas.

The situation in the Middle East seems to have one inevitable conclusion: a nuclear one. If the world did come to nuclear war — and the lessons of history suggest that it will — it is possible that a small fraction of us will survive and the world will be dragged back into the dark ages. Being a student of ancient history as well as English literature gives me an interesting stance on this state of affairs. Reminiscent of the film The Book of Eli, books and the written word will be essential to the rebuilding of our society. We will be aware of our mistake and the poisonous ideologies will be manifested in the utter desolation that nuclear war will bring. The knowledge of books will again be in high demand, and we will be in great need of those who are able to understand this information, put it to good use, and pass it on.

I believe that humankind can survive any destructive force made by humans. The resilient and virtuous can keep us together and those who revert to primitive hostility will become extinct due to their own lack of adaptability. We have to face plagues, famines and natural disasters and come out of all them stronger than before.

[1] http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Polybius/home.html

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