How Did We Get Here?

Today as I write it’s the second half of 2020. The year of vision and breakthrough. A launchpad to great new human achievements. An echo of the roaring nineteen-twenties.

Or so we all thought.

Instead of new heights of health and wealth, we arrived at a global pandemic. Almost three million infections and over 125,000 deaths in the USA alone in these last six months as tracked by the CDC and The Atlantic.

And I’ve lost family and colleagues, to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to other causes of mortality.

The June 2020 Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 11.1% unemployment and 17.8 million people currently unemployed in America.

And my wife and I both had to participate in the unemployment systems.

Instead of a great show of unity in this fight against an invisible enemy, we instead had a steady diet of how disunified we are in the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others. Riots about police brutality and racial inequality were not on my 2020 Bingo card.

Okay, so this year really is not batting a thousand. What, baseball’s not back yet? Alright, uh, different analogy…

It feels like a great upheaval is taking place, and the great tension between where we’ve been and where we’re going is more like tectonics launching earthquake after earthquake.

(Yeah yeah we’ve had earthquakes too this year. You know what, it’s hard to make disaster metaphors after plagues and locusts and earthquakes and killer bees… Every day sounds like a satire of the biblical Exodus.)

And all of it has me asking: how did we get here?

Okay, maybe not like the Paramore song. But that ethos is there.

How did we get here
When I used to know you so well?

“Decode” by Paramore, written in 2008 for… the Twilight movie soundtrack.

So much of this year has me wondering… how did we get here? I thought I knew what was up. Politics. Society. Culture. Religion. Have I been playing by different rules? The wrong rules? The wrong game?

I have a hypothesis that this is the tipping point between modernity and postmodernity. Or postmodernity and altermodernity. That the rules have changed. How we know things has changed. And the consequences of that revolution are the growing pains we see in society today.

But that’s more of a neighborhood than a street address when it comes to answering the question. So there’s more to learn. More to write down. More to compile and synthesize to truly understand… how did we get here?