On the run-up to 2022 (or 2565 as it’s more commonly called here) there is an almost painful longing for things to RETURN TO NORMAL. That view of the year to come is an illusion.
Things are never going to be what they were. There is no going back.
The troubles that inspire our longing are, in fact, both instruments and impediments to inevitable change in the way things are done, in the circumstances that now pertain, and in the tools and skills we will be needing.
This pandemic is the latest health crisis to sweep the world. New ones will come. Each one taught valuable coping and survival lessons as they rose and diminished. We can now see no end to the Corona Virus, COVID-19. But going on will mean doing things differently from now on. We will not be going back to social gatherings in the same way we used to take for granted. School will not be taught in the same way. Religious services are going to have to be done differently. We now are beginning to realize that nothing commercial, academic, religious or political can be entirely done at a distance, using technology; but from now on nothing will be done fully without it, not even religious services. But I expect religions to be among the most reluctant to face reality.
That is the short of it. Our own generation of young people is going to innovate.
As for the longer range, my predictions are of two types, dire and hopeful. I stand by my predictions, even though I am unlikely to be around to be accountable for the outcomes.
1. The South China Sea is the most likely flash-point for an outbreak of World War III.
2. The world’s sixth extinction event has now passed the point where it could be reversed.
3. Artificial intelligence will develop a capacity for innovation and independence.
1. World religions will play a key role in the recovery from the collapse of post-modernism.
2. Authoritarian nationalism inevitably develops the causes of its own demise.
3. Interplanetary colonization will be impractical although outposts may be set up as tenuously as they were in Antarctica in the 20th century.
Finally, the main lesson I learned from the year 2021 now happily ending, is that we cannot avoid danger but there are vaccines for some of them. Blessings, friends and fellow travelers as we hasten into hope lest we lapse into despair.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.