It appears to be a time of ‘wild thinking’, in which received ideas are being reconsidered and values re-assessed while we still live through a troubled era in a troubled region: Lifestyle (Modernization) merged with corruption as a way of life; kleptocracy with professional expertise; religiosity with Hollywood-style aesthetics. An eagle view tells us that days may not be too far of what Guy Debord half a century ago called ‘the society of the spectacle’ – tourists in masses, son et lumière at every turn. But we need to rethink what has happened since our annus mirabilis, to use the ancient European lingua franca. Our wisdom class needs to step up and brainstorm or – to use one of Hannah Arendt’s favorite terms – to ‘think without a bannister’, and lead without appetite glasses on.
Writers and analysts, participants in the public debate – have to contribute with an understanding of the societies vis-a-vis our society that have emerged before our eyes. Finding a language to describe a world in the making – post-Cold War or pre-New-Cold-War, polycentric, post-liberal, authoritarian post-postmodern seems to be the most difficult. A phenomenological analysis to working with systems or models could help to begin with. We’re also topped-up with “Interfaith” and “Islamophobia” catchwords — they need to be on the same discussion tables. The latter is becoming an icon, a caesura between yesterday and tomorrow, a divide between past and future. The ‘great break’ could happen not through glasnost and perestroika as the overlapping of different layers of time is happening: Azadi March, Students March, etc. And the notions of transformation and transition only insufficiently grasp the processes taking place. That we are simply not prepared (rather in denial) for the ‘hero(s) of withdrawal’ from the status quo is adding to the mix.
Our youth is gazing at the transformation or transition trapeze. What they need and largely want are the 3 C’s”: character, capability, capacity. Rest are side orders.