COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
We are entering a new decade, and the last one had been cataclysmic indeed as it ushered in the new century. Globally, we witnessed natural and man-made events that brought so much destruction in human lives, and altered the way we see and deal with fellow human beings and the world at large. It could be the sign of the times.
Some people say that we are at the close of an age – spanning several thousand years – in the Mayan calendar, which figured much of the natural calamities and man-made disasters. The closing of that age, however, does not mean the closing of time or the end of life itself, but paves the way for a new age, and of new beginnings and discoveries.
Some others say that we are simply in transition from the Piscean age which caused much of the conflict and destruction, and entering the age of Aquarius which is predicted as a golden age for humankind. It might be so as a result of the great advances made in science and technology, easing our daily lives, and that the millennium development goal of eradicating global poverty can finally be achieved.
Still many people would say, especially those who believe in biblical prophecy, that we are nearing the end of the world as evidenced by the godlessness of men, and wherein the son will turn against his father and the father against the son. A lot of the Hebrew prophecy had been fulfilled indeed, but I still have to wait for the rise of the red dragon before witnessing Armageddon.
Yet a few of the esoteric kind says that the great natural disasters we are experiencing in recent years are cosmic and galactic in origin, as the solar system is approaching the photon belt, a toroid shaped object in outer space composed of photon light particles. The outer ring called the null zone, is “a region of incredible energy compression” affecting the Earth’s electrical, magnetic, and gravitational fields. Thus the increased seismic activities, volcanism, and altered weather patterns. But this null zone is perceived to be only 5-6 days wide and let us pray that planet earth shall pass through it intact and still with life.
Whatever the truth of our planetary condition might be, the fact that the earth is heating up towards unbearable level for many living organisms is partly due to man-made events; high carbon emissions, denudation of forests, underground drilling and explosions, and other major destruction of the earth’s ecosystem. The production of non-biodegradable matter especially plastics which make up a great bulk of our garbage, have also contributed much of the environmental waste.
On another front, the September 11 event at the start of the past decade had sparked two US wars – against Iraq and Afghanistan. The event also sparked a protracted war against international terrorism, with the US launching its war plan Operation Freedom and the Philippines, its own Oplan Bantay Laya. As a consequence, more people have died not only of bombings and invasion, but through extra-judicial killings.
Extra-judicial killings became prevalent not only in the event of this war against terrorism but in countries with emerging democracies. The transition from traditional life and feudal system to a democratic society has taken its toll on a lot of people’s lives. Dissent as an expression of popular will is being met with suppression by state forces as a method of control and as a means to hold on to power.
In the world of business and economics, globalization has shown its ugly face as Third World countries are driven more towards poverty and dependency. The exploited economies resulted in the outmigration of their people to the more developed countries, further draining these weak economies of their human resources. The Diaspora of a great number of people finally changed the demographics of the world.
Further, the US financial crisis showed the dangers of capitalism as the crisis took a domino effect on other industrialized countries, since big business operates on a global scale. The ensuing economic recession likewise affected the trading partners of the US, especially the Philippines and other countries in the Third World.
Amidst this confluence of events challenging the basic family unit and independence of sovereign states, was the growth of the Internet which reduced the whole world into one small village. Speedy communication has altered human interaction, where it is easier to talk to someone on the other side of the globe than someone in your neighboring household. Cyberspace has practically revolutionized the early 21st century man’s world view, and democratized the people on the planet faster than any political or social structure ever did.
It was also in the previous decade where social movements have gone global, wherein you will hear of Lawyers without Borders, Engineers without Borders, human rights groups forming into continental federations, and other such formations working on climate change, financing for development, food sovereignty, migration, among other concerns.
So, much as we would like to start the new decade on a clean slate, we will have to consider this chaotic backdrop as we forge our plans for the following years ahead.
January 14, 2011