The Dead Weight of History

What’s one to do with the dead weight of history and demographics? No, I am not about to embark here on some elitist complaint against the “ignorant masses,” or the “mob,” I am merely referring to the all-too real problem related, in part, to the confusion surrounding issues of identity and belonging, and, in other part, to the sheer pressure that population explosion exerts on the basic social services that a state should provide in order to survive in this world (its survival being of major importance to the well-being of, at least, the majority of its inhabitants, if not all).

Yes, there is such a thing as “too much history,” too much history for us to sift through and sort out in our collective subconscious and/or our individual intellectual endeavors.  But sifting and sorting (with all the relevant trimmings, that is, undertaking analyses, comparisons, contrasts and juxtapositions), are exactly the things we need to do if we are to figure out who we are again in this world, where we are, and  where to go from here.

On the other hand, there is simply too many of us to deal with all these issues and reach suitable workable theoretical agreements and practical arrangements. And time is not a luxury that we seem to have, or, to be more exact, that we seem willing to allow ourselves, and each other, to have. What are we to do then? There are virtually hundreds of millions of people all over the world that constitute nothing more than dead weight in each of their societies and states because they lack the proper education and opportunities to cope or catch up with the rest.

Knowing that the reasons behind the lack of “proper education and opportunities” cannot be solely blamed on the people involved, and there are more complex reasons for that – reasons that, when taken under consideration, make us all into culprits so that no pleas of innocence can be easily entered or accepted, we simply cannot dismiss these people as Ayn Rand did in “Atlas Shrugged.” Moreover, we should always bear in mind that a world can implode due to the increasing volume of the dead weight within it as well, and not only some imagined strike of its creative individualist forces.  Indeed, the former scenario is much more likely and was indeed enacted numerous times throughout history. As such, there is really nothing necessary selfless in the assertion “we are all in it together,” because we are.

Now, that still does not answer the question of what to do with the dead weight of history and demographics. Or, to put more clearly now: how to provide suitable education and create the necessary opportunities for living and advancement for the hundreds of millions of people in need throughout the world? Now that’s a million dollar question or is it few billions now?).

I don’t really have an answer, of course, because whatever answer I (or anyone else) can provide will be deemed too idealistic and impractical, and will work against the entrenched interests of too many “groups” and “social strata” to be widely adopted, and hence prove effective. But what I do know is this: this world is going nowhere without its “brutes” (or even Taliban. But, then, rejectionists and their role our contemporary society call for a separate analysis), nor can we exterminate them (to paraphrase Conrad in “The Heart of Darkness”). We have to find ways somehow to accommodate all into the fabric of modern “civilization,” even when their values are radically different from modern ones. The benefits of modernity need to be extended to all and sundry.

But, in this analysis we are referring to those who didn’t even have the chance to experience any of modernity’s benefits. This is the main reason behind the Darfur rebellion, for instance. The marginalization of the Fur tribes and region (caused here in part by the racial prejudices of the central authorities in the Sudan, mostly Arab), meant that certain very basic services (such as electricity or clean water supplies) were not offered, and the infrastructure (including schools, roads, hospitals etc.) was either underdeveloped or nonexistent. As such, the causes of the rebellion were not related to a rejection of modernity and its benefits. On the contrary, the desire to partake of some of these benefits seems to lie at the very core of the rebellion. This does not mean that the Fur tribes do not possess certain pre-modern or even anti-modern values, and that, giving the chance, they will not develop certain rejectionist tendencies themselves, but the fact is, you need to experience modernity before you can accept or reject it, as a whole or in part.

But then, how about the rejectionists? How about the Taliban of the world? Or, to be more dramatic, how about the Taliban within how about our own atavistic predilections, lying under that elaborate veneer of modernity we tend to wear?