The Walking Dead may be the current teen sensation but it’s also us. Listen carefully and you can hear the slow, slow, quick, quick, slow of the global Danse Macabre...
As the boys get out their war toys again and the dispossessed are on the march again and we poison the air we breathe, the water we drink and the ground we need to survive, you can feel the rhythm. The 1% still squirreling away ill gotten billions in tax havens and offshore accounts don’t hear it. But as those – for example the British elite that sit on inherited (unearned) wealth - join forces with those who have more recently become obscenely rich by ravaging the resources of struggling nations that do not have the infrastructure to stop them, the music gets louder the movements more exaggerated.
The Danse Macabre was an artistic vision of mediaeval times. Long before Saint Saens’ music, DM was a depiction of the dead dancing to their graves. The point was to show the elite with their crowns and sceptres and gold alongside the poor and ragged of the earth all jigging towards their burial places in a last desperate darkly joyful moment – levelled by Death.
Yes – you may say – those were times when war, famine and disease could wipe out significant proportions of the earth’s populous without warning and with frightening speed. That was then, you may say, this is now. Then I will come back to you with this. Have you already forgotten Ebola? I know we ignored it for years because it was just the darkies who got it but we know it’s breaking out of its viral comfort zone. Haven’t you heard, way before we’ve found cures for some of the deadliest diseases on the planet, the medicines we’ve relied on this side of WWII are no longer playing ball.
Each sect with a new End of Days prophecy is spot lit and ridiculed by the mass media. The really bad joke is that we are at the End of Days; it is an ongoing event that we are speeding up alarmingly. With every thoughtless action, with every decision made for profit instead of people, with ever pound or dollar we spend on war instead of security, with every act of excess instead of restraint, we dance faster towards Earth Zero. And if you are reading this behind the comfort of your scepticism remember – I accurately predicted the 2015 election results. It’s past time to be uncomfortable. The period when we could, in all reasonable hope, turn things around passed early in my lifetime.
Unlike our 14th Century forebears we are simply not facing up to reality; with humour or at all. Maybe that is why you’ll hear on the ‘news’ a cursory account of how the corals around the planet are crumbling as sea temperatures rise followed by lengthy detailed reports about which bunch of blokes kicked or hit or ran with, various different shaped and sized balls... I listened with incredulity this morning as Sainsbury, a major supermarket chain here in the UK, encouraged people to get in their cars for some extra journeys this month in their ad for discount fuel.
Since we succeeded in destabilising the Middle East – again – the rupture, the crack in the thin veneer of civilisation has been growing and no sticking plaster is now big enough to cover it. History tells us that social breakdown, mass exodus and planetary pandemics follow.
Hospitals, if you are lucky enough to have them, are over burdened and underfunded and we are short on compassion. In this country our basic infrastructure has been sold off to the highest bidder and nothing can now stand in the way of the profit juggernaut. Perhaps the most blatant recent example of this is the Volkswagen debacle. In the face of even the flimsy laws attempting to limit air pollution, human beings (who also need to breathe this air I presume) have spent time, money, and ingenuity creating and fitting technology to get round that legislation.
It’s like we’re all clinging to the outer branch of a very old, tired tree and the people in charge are making big piles of sawdust for themselves by sawing away at the part of the branch that connects us to the trunk – and we are all just watching...
Time spent developing drugs to ensure a bloke can shag when he wants equates to time that has not been spent keeping Malaria drugs up to date or educating the population on the use of medicines that have become essential to us such as antibiotics (see blog 97. Viagra – Yes. Effective Cure for Malaria – No!). There is no excuse; the Chinese had medicines for Malaria 2000 years ago.
One of the elements the DM deals with is the human desperation for a final fling, last dance, last hysterically elated act. On this blog I’ve often decried silly, superficial, consumer mad triviality in the face of human suffering and real anguish. But maybe those determinedly drinking / drugging / gambling / gorging themselves to death or spending themselves into oblivion or flaying themselves for attention on social media are doing just that - taking part in the Global Danse Macabre...