Another year older. Are we another year wiser? I doubt it somehow. This months' Gateway offerings are substantial in length and so I won't add much to that. My observations for this New Year are that we have definitely not learned from mistakes of the past and therefore are most certainly condemned to repeat them (endlessly, with variations.)
This month, Leatham writes about the 20th Century Puzzle. This is one that surely, as we settle into the 21st Century we should have solved. But no.
I can't help but feel (at least politically) that the appropriate advice is 'abandon hope all ye who enter here' as we move into 2018. The Star Wars Saga continues but I see no 'New Hope'. I see a new generation, struggling with fundamentally the same issues, in a new format - but never looking back with enough insight to realise the lessons we might learn - including that Hope is never enough!
Is the answer Decadence? Leatham thinks not. His essay on Decadence in society and literature is interesting if for nothing else than to remind us how loose definitions can actually be - and how culturally relative so much of our life experience is.
But beyond decadence, the question is how to lift oneself out of the gloom? Well, the world may be going to hell in a handcart (but then, hasn't it always been?) and I suggest it is possible to escape into the past and fictional worlds and learn something in the process. This month Orraman explores Hogg's Brownie, and we counterpoint it with Nicolson's version. My short conclusion is that the world is in need of Brownies more than ever today. Politics won't save us. Brownies might help us save ourselves, if we learn the lessons they have to teach. So - this month - read and weep - or laugh -but above all read and THINK. For yourself.
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