I think I’ll hide under the bed until it blows over


 Hiding under the bed

Trying to get back to the day to day business of normal life and business is never easy after some major event.  This week it was the death of biggest bogey-man of this century, the Volemort of this era; implicitly  he has dominated our lives for ten years, reshaping the war we travel, drawing us into several wars and dominating our international thinking for all of that time.   Everything seems trivial by comparison, not just to his death, but violence in Libya and Syria, earthquakes in Japan and the other really important things that have happened in just four months of 2011.

I have been reading  1959; The Year That Everything Changed, by Fred Kaplan.  The author author makes an argument that 1959 was a pivotal year ; according to Kaplan all of the significant events of the second half of 20th century in some way passed through and were shaped by 1959 in important ways.  He lists, describes and explains trends in music, art, poetry, literature, movies, civil rights, birth control, politics, international diplomacy, space and technology to make his point.

In 1959, I was alive and in high school; I remember most of the events Kaplan mentions or at least have read enough about them since to have a fair understanding of them.  But I would never have placed those events or that year at the center of any theory of historical or social change; but I would be hard pressed to pick a year that I thought could be the definitive turning point in history.  Like everyone else I can see the impact of major wars, atomic bombs or depressions on history and development of society.  But even those events have vague beginnings and endings, one period blending into another without any clear point marking a start or stop.  Both of the world wars of the 20th century had ambiguous starting points that different from country to country and from commentator to commentator.  It might seem that a war clearly ends at a definable point, but when did World War I end for Germany or for France – one might argue in 1946.   The atomic bomb may have exploded on definite days, but it wasn’t created at once, nor even in a linear fashion; and the clouds that rose over Japan were still circled the earth when the Berlin Wall came down – in fact if you are following the tension between Iran and other nuclear power countries, the clouds are still floating above us threatening to drop their lethal contents on our heads.

Those murky points of change and transition mark history for me; I can’t find any more definite borders of change in my personal life than I can in the history of the world.  I suppose that is one of the reasons this year is so unnerving – the world appears to be in the midst of a major transition right in front of our eyes. Of course, next year or ten years from now it may look very different and the events of the first four months of 2011 may fit into patterns that were clearly developing long before the dawn of 2011 and continued in a predictable linear manner for years afterward.  But at this moment, 2011 feels like a classic point puncutated equilibrium – a sudden and dramatic shift from a state of stasis to state of chaos.

This kind of dramatic change is a bit unnerving, I don’t know about you, but I am considering hiding under my bed until this year blows over.


3 Responses to “I think I’ll hide under the bed until it blows over”

  1. 1 Jabittan May 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Hiding under the bed sure won’t stop Godzilla from stepping on you.

  2. 2 Ken Adams May 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Damn is no place safe for an old man to hide?

  3. 3 Jabittan May 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I got a 98 on that paper. My professor liked it a lot.

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