Looking through the content of various posts that spring out on social media, I came to a conclusion that I tried as much as possible to keep it to myself, but I think that, after all, it’s a healthy thing to share our opinions, and to confront our critics. For all of us, 2016 was a rough year, maybe not so much due to the fact that terrorism was more present in our newsfeed, but more due to the fact that we came to the conclusion that the world has changed dramatically and we know now some of the defining social trends that will dominate the years to come.
For many years, I must admit, that if somebody asked me “Which are the defining elements of our decade?” I would surely needed a lot of time to give even the most basic answer. Now I can see things in a different light, and I think that radicalization will be the heaviest label of this decade. Stop! I’m referring here only to the radicalization of Islam, as some of you might think, but more about the radicalization of opinions in general. Even though the world evolved remarkably from a technological point of view, we seem to get more and more infantile when it comes to expression our opinions, and especially those that regard hot topics for the whole world.
We are becoming more and more literate when it comes to using gadgets, but it seems that our critical thought framework is become extremely frail. The general trend is that of going back to a bipolar world model. For those of your that were born in the late 80s and early 90s, or even sooner, you grew up with the imagine of a world that is divided among two opposing ideological camps – US, representing capitalism, an ambassador of free speech, and the USSR, representing communism, and all that came with it – limited rights when it came to free speech and a economy fully dominated by the state.
Even thought this world order is long dead by now, our era has some similarities with it. The West is becoming more and more infiltrated by groups that have as goal the spread of ideology at any cost, with a total disregard towards pragmatism in general. The main tactics that left wing groups use nowadays is similar, to some extent, to a phenomena know in geopolitics under the name of Balkanization. This phenomena describes the fragmentation of a nation under the direct force of internal forces, of groups that want to reject the common identity at any cost, and ultimately to create their own identity on facts and reasons that a truly doubt worthy.
In our era, we seem to be fighting an evil that is nonexistent, or one that does not makes its presence known through suffering and misery, as it did its ascendants just a few decades back. We don’t fight poverty and malnutrition, we fight micro-aggressions and man-spreading. The evil of the late 2000s is different in essence of the one that we knew from the early and late 90s.
But even so, modern evil is more perverted, has more complex fight tactics on its side. The most toxic of all is the white-black/good-evil/partisan-nonpartizan view of the world, with nothing in between. Even if our view of the world, in its wholeness, is stronger now than it was in the past, our way of understanding what happens around is becoming more and more rudimentary. We see things through a very polarized perspective. In Sociology we know that a child in his early years perceives things, people and actions as either being good or bad. As a child grows, develops the capacity of seeing the nuances that change drastically any story.
Ignoring the nuances that make reality what is at the end of the day represents a huge danger for our society, and perpetuating this trend that is fueled by toxic identity politics and anti-scientism will have devastating effects on our general wellbeing as a society,