As technology keeps drawing people around the globe together, tribal instincts that once served us well, are putting us in danger. Some of the examples of tribalism are near to insanity:
The owner of a convenience store in New Mexico put up a sign recently: “Obama and other Muslims not welcome here.” (“Only in America,” The Week, Jan. 13, 107 pg. 6.) Meanwhile, a Honolulu restaurant owner put up his own sign: “If you voted for Trump, you cannot eat here.” (Ibid pg. 6)
The situation could be worse, I suppose. Germany finds itself divided. On New Year’s eve 100 West African males were arrested for assaulting German females. Now the country is debating which is worse: racial profiling or sexual harassment? (Ibid pg. 8.) Palestine and Israel seem headed for renewed confrontation. And North Korea’s leader reignited the old game of nuclear chicken when he announced his country has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of dropping nuclear warheads on the United States.
For all our centuries on this planet, we humans don’t seem to have gotten the hang of living together. Technology may have lengthened human lifespans, but it has also improved our ability to eradicate one another.
Each morning, I wake to ask if the human condition can get any more absurd and, as the day wears on, I find it can. I still hope. But mostly I sigh with resignation. Today, I am grateful no bombs have dropped in my neighborhood. Tomorrow? Who knows. The words of poets will have to sustain me:
Then I saw the morning sky.
Heigho, the tale was all a lie:
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew. (“Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff…” by A. E. Housman)