I’m not going to try to nail down the exact dates of civilization’s golden years. You might point to Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution or to other sections of the globe or other eras. Whatever, whenever and wherever. Seriously doubting that we are living in a Golden Era, I ask why not?

Surely there’s been enough ‘progress’ ? Yeah, like thousands of years of it. The latest invention, product innovation or legislated regulation, laid upon recently new, stacked neatly atop not-so-new, over layer after layer of now positively old but formerly equally wonderful – all forming a teetering pile of sedimentary progress, holds mankind perched precariously. With so much progress under our belts we should be enjoying the most ‘golden’ of ages today. Isn’t that what progress is? Well, by no account are we. So why aren’t we at least well on our way to the golden-est of ages?

“Oh”, you’ll say, “but look at the advances of Modern Medicine”. Go look, but don’t assume it’s affordable. That particular advance is not for mankind until we can figure out how to give the average human access. And that my friend, is a day far off. Until then, knowing (or not knowing) there is a cure for your ailment, and having it impossibly out of reach, well not very golden civilization-ish methinks. And as for all those dandy new pharmaceuticals, which may or may not treat your symptoms, and rarely if ever treat the disease, good luck affording those too.

If you muster up the courage to ask “But what about all the advances in the availability and diversity of food these days?” (I wonder, are you really trying to argue that this is a golden age?) Our food supply is in the grasp of ginormous transnational corporations with shareholder profit as their motive – not actually feeding people healthy food. Golden for a few, I suppose. Explain that to the people of Argentina, who can no longer afford to buy their own crops. Or to the Indian farmer (oh sorry, you can’t – he killed himself), who got entangled with progress-pushing Monsanto and thus advanced backwards. Oh, and that diversity of supermarket food? It’s 80% GMO high fructose corn syrup! Yum.

I know you won’t attempt to claim we’ve advanced politically, as just about everywhere robber barons, criminals and cronies rule the roost. In the US, where few are even aware of who runs the country (hint: not the president), something like 95% of the top 200 regulatory agency positions are held by people with very serious conflicts of interest (to say the least). These folks are not thinking of the little guy. No sir. Sometimes I wonder if any US law has been passed in the last 10 years without its writer’s net worth ballooning substantially, little guy be damned.

In fact, in spite of some seemingly amazing technical innovations, around the globe mankind is in a miserable state, with fantastically absurd imbalances of equity and well being.

I still hold out hope, in spite of trends, that there can be a golden age ahead of rather than behind us. The “peak” that postpeakpublishing refers to is perhaps the peak of ignorance, of misguided leadership, of apathy, of willing to settle for less, of equating human domestication and unequivocal submission to authority with civilization. Passing that peak (and I believe we’re passing it now) puts us in a position to build the next peak.

Let’s get it right this time.

Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.