Tags: Tennessee Williams, Hot Tin Roof, world war, Developing nations, world hunger, Pearl Harbor, Hegel, Mark Twain
Furthermore, he carefully noted that no one would escape the clutches of the unfolding terror. From the smartest intellectual to the simplest worker…all would discover “the necessity of thinking” in order to survive.
How true he was! The stupidity and madness that ripped the world apart in the late 1930s to the mid- 1940s had been festering since 1929. It took nearly ten years for the falling economic dominoes to collapse into military conflict. The two are always inseparable.
It seems fitting that we celebrated the Tennessee Williams Festival this past week because his words of seventy years ago resonate today!
One cannot escape the claustrophobic feeling that the world events are closing in. The international economy is struggling. Most of the Developed Nations of the world face massive debt while refusing to make the hard decisions needed to meet the challenges. For their part, the Developing Nations must confront soaring inflation that could dangerously threaten their domestic tranquility. While the Undeveloped Nations are torn by riots and revolution driven by poverty, hunger, and lack of opportunity, irrationality and violence appear to be the order of the day.
A growing food shortage and expanding world populations underlie many of these problems. As mentioned in earlier articles, the cost of food and other commodities has grown dangerously over the past several months and shows no sign of easing. This is particularly a problem for undeveloped nations that cannot accommodate their expanding populations. Couple these issues with now escalating oil prices and soaring gold values then one senses that these separate events may soon coalesce into one major world crisis as in the late 1930s.
If the world ever needed leadership, it is now. Unfortunately, no one on the world scene possesses the required tools for meeting these many challenges. Mere bit players walk the boards.
Much of this escalating crisis might have been prevented had reason prevailed. Yet the world seems trapped in the “stupidity” of nationalism, greed, religious intolerance, political partisanship, militarism, and mindless attempts to selectively impose a one world government without recognizing the true nature of the human beast.
Perhaps the words of two 19th century thinkers should be kept in mind: a humorist and a philosopher. Mark Twain said it quaintly: “History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” While that Georg Wilhelm Hegel stated clearly: “We learn from history that we never learn anything from history.”
One would like to believe that both are in error. That somehow the human species has a keener sense of hindsight to prevent us from revisiting the same mistakes. But facts indicate the opposite. In which case, the words of Tennessee Williams are prophetic: “…people are going to realize to their amazement that stupidity is no longer profitable…”
by Ron Chapman
Other columns by Ron Chapman
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