The paralysis of analysis: hopelessness in the current world
The 1814 translation into English by the Reverend H. F. Cary is the origin for this phrase in English, although he gave it as the less commonly used 'All hope abandon ye who enter here'.
Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.
One of the prices of knowledge, especially when deprived of power is pain. When Trump seemed ready to provoke WW3 by escalating in Syria, many of us were frightened for the immediate futures of ourselves, our families, our friends. Now that the immediate threat has abated, we are still faced with the arduous prospect of slow suffocation of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
The converse, "ignorance is bliss", rings quite true in these times. When the Gods of War almost started the War Without Return (WW3), I thought long and hard as to whether to call my children. After consideration, I did not do so. The "benefit" of advanced knowledge of pending destruction appeared insignificant in comparison to the horror and perhaps panic such information might have had. Like most of their peers, my children have no earthly concern for "politics" even though this Python from Hades constricts our freedom daily.
c99 is an intellectual haven for me and many others, even those, who, like alligators, are content to lurk beneath the surface, while covertly observing the gloom and doom. Those hardy, stolid creatures care not what travails occurs on shore, being sure of their own future success as predicted by their millions of years past. Past predicts future.
Well, not quite. But our history is currently is like the drunkard's walk, a state in which the drunkard, having lost control of his limbs, staggers unpredictably onward. Yet, each stumble and hesitation leads to a loss of entropy; in other words, the drunkard loses postural stability at a higher entropy level (erectness) with each such misstep. The result is that the drunkard's inability to right himself (or herself) loses more entropy (altitude, erectness) with each lurch and lean. The final result is not random, although the path taken to achieve the end-posture of lying in the gutter is unpredictable.
For me, the path to the gutter of our world, our civilization, is unpredictable but the result certain.
Is there a way way, conceivable, even if unlikely to add additional entropy, forestalling the drunkard's fall until sobriety recurs? This is the GREAT QUESTION of our time. Whatever cast of characters, the dysfunctional, malevolent institutions dictates that WE have no control. In effect, being powerless, we have no means of righting ourselves, being subject to overwhelming force, consistently applied.
Hat tip to snoopydawg for this excellent link to an article "Inverted Totalitarianism"
The expositor, Sheldon Wolin, paints a grimly correct analysis of the current dysfunctional system, which again, python-like, progressively squeezes harder each time we exhale, until we no longer breathe.
One may call this essay a rant. I might call it a requiem.