Most everyone (including mariner) points at the pandemic as an expediter, an accelerator of cultural change. Mariner checked out other cultural shifts that have occurred in history; it turns out big-time change takes a while. It obviously is true that the pandemic has shut down twentieth century values by forcing adaptation to emerging artificial intelligence, exploding corporatism and by causing an economic blip because of the shutdown of so many supply chains and services – an economic blip that forced the nation to look anew at racism and the growing population of indigent citizens.
So stepping on the brakes, quite firmly, has brought about discordant oddities like a President who is incompetent and a wannabe dictator, a totally collapsed morality in the GOP political party, trillions of dollars made by corporations who monetize what should be uncompromised social behavior and just to add an unusual spin, a planet that is not pleased with human behavior.
Now the question is how long it will take to establish a new era with new economics, new social behavior, new lifestyles, new international collaboration and a new sense of normalcy and confidence across the world.
THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
It took 131 years (1517-1648) before the open conflict between Roman Catholicism and the protestant rebellion came to awkward but agreeable terms. The role of today’s pandemic was played by Henry VIII, Martin Luther and John Calvin. In short order Henry said nations are not bound by Roman Catholic judgments; Martin Luther said the Holy Bible was the only source of Divine authority and proclaimed that every Christian is a priest in their own right; John Calvin stressed God’s power and humanity’s predestined fate.
Reminiscent of today’s republican-democrat standoff, treaties were hard fought, physical agreements that took decades to settle. It wasn’t until 1530 that the Lutheran Denomination was able to document its approach to Christianity by publishing the Augsburg Confession, a document that settled differences between Protestant sects and was presented to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
A thirty-year war raged until 1648 when the Treaty of Westphalia was signed. Another comparison between then and now is the opportunity to use new technology. The new technology during the Reformation was the printing press, giving dissenting views a new, quickly distributed tool with which to fight entrenched authority. Today, in 2020, the new technology is social media – having the same disruptive effect.
As Christmas grows near this year, a genuine gift is the vaccine – developed in such a short time it seems miraculous. This leaves 2021 as the year to start rebuilding the American Dream, redesigning new economics for the world and to see what we can do about Planet Earth’s complaints not only regarding fossil fuel but the heavy price on the biosphere caused by human indifference.
Only 130 years left . . .