Covid-19: A crucial, unique pause in modern Babylon
Due to the present pandemic lockdown, there is more time to watch TV, even binge-watch on different series.
With my wife, we have been watching an intriguing German series called “Babylon Berlin. Through a fictive storyline, it vividly captures the unique political, cultural, social landscape of the German nation in transition between two World Wars.
As we are closing on the end of the 3rd series suddenly it dawned on me, how eerily similar that society, where people tried to desperately find, redefine themselves is to our present “modern Babylon”.
The series shows Germany in 1929 in the contrast of two contradicting forces. On one hand, there is a certain upswing, a young democracy finding its way, while previous religious, moral boundaries are broken and suddenly everything is free and available for those who can afford it. Due to an illusionary belief in the upsurging markets and stock exchange even simple, everyday people are hoping to be rich by investing in stocks using loans from the banks.
On the other hand poverty, unemployment grows, political, social extremes (Communism and hateful racist Nationalism) are strengthening, drawing towards themselves the frustrated, increasingly suffering masses.
This is a society in terrible turmoil when nothing is certain, nobody knows what the next day brings, where everybody tries to survive by any means possible, at the expense of others without any remorse, nobody trusts nobody else.
Though Hitler is hardly mentioned one can almost understand, accept why it was inevitable that his unifying message was accepted with such an elemental force a little later.
Before the pandemic, our global Human society was very close to this state. While there are those can afford everything without limitations and enjoy life without boundaries. There are no moral, ethical, traditional values, frameworks left, and there is no overall purpose for our lives. People are also investing in inflated, overvalued, illusory stocks, paying for debt with debt, everybody from individuals to nations hanging in thin air.
The differences between those who are getting richer and getting poorer increases exponentially, societies are breaking apart, frustration, hatred grows. As a result, extremism on both sides of the political spectrum, and racism among all grows. Global problems multiply and there are many geopolitical conflicts, disputes fanning the flames of war, with certain elements in societies itching to try out their new weapons.
In Germany — after the financial system collapsed and resentment, general frustration reached breaking point — Hitler became the “solution” and we all know what came after.
Today we have the potential “solution” to create multiple “Hitlers”, “groups of Hitlers” in many places from any side of the political spectrum, from any nation, uniting their desperate people on the hatred of others. We can easily find ourselves in a global war this, and if not wars then the mounting, seemingly unsolvable global problems can decimate us.
Contrary to those crucial years preceding the Second World War, we were given a unique pause with this pandemic, an unprecedented opportunity to arrest our instinctive march to madness and mutual destruction. We still have time to conclude that in a globally, intricately integrated, interdependent world our collective survival depends on mutual cooperation, fragile, but sustainable global connections above remaining differences, despite the constant distrust, animosity.
So can we rewrite history and usher in a new, this time conscious, purposeful Human development above and against our egotistic, individualistic, hateful instincts, reflexes?!