Former Venezuelan Minister of Ministers Beatrice Rangel illustrates how 2021 is not unlike the Utah monolith and how mythology and conspiracy theories are what people use to overcome the hardship 2021 is sure to deliver.
By Beatrice Rangel
Like the recently removed Utah monolith, 2021 came into being, slipping silently without much fanfare and with minimal understanding from most people of what it will deliver in terms of economic recovery, health and personal improvement.
Unlike the Utah monolith, 2021 is not in the possession of any branch of government as most governments are focused on getting their population vaccinated and on filling the growing income vs debt gap arising from the economic paralysis triggered by Covid-19.
But like the monolith, it is giving rise to all kinds of stories about a potential unnoticed visit by extraterrestrials or about the desolation of artists with the destruction of the moab desert.
While the biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources who discovered the enigmatic object continuously deny the presence of any evidence of extraterrestrial sojourn, many Americans believe they are covering up such evidence to prevent more anxiety and fear. As a consequence, the most varied and incredible conspiracy theories have emerged including one that places direct responsibility on the monolith for the outbreak of Covid-19 describing the object as the needle sent from outer space to inject the virus on planet earth.
Many might discard these narratives as just part of popular fantasy but this would be disregarding a fundamental aspect of human thinking. Mythology is the human creation that helps communities and nations to overcome adversity. The Greeks constructed a magical universe reigned by deities who would be responsible for war and peace; drought and fertility; life and death.
Our original nations warned us through magical signs of the troubles that could be brought upon mankind when man and nature did not synchronize. Today humanity is starting a new year with the greatest degree of uncertainty it has ever faced since the last world war. But this uncertainty is far more pervasive than that of the 1940s. Hence their flight towards mythology.
Today people are not sure whether they will ever find jobs again; or whether what they are investing in tertiary education will help them find employment. Nor do they know what their savings will be worth a decade from now or which new wave of extreme weather could leave them homeless.
Faced with this pungent incertitude humans are taking refuge in partial truths. Some cling to the myth of globalization. Others to that of closing doors to all exchanges and to people from other geographies. Still others believe that bringing manufacturing back will secure employment.
The truth is that none of these partial views either explain or solve our current predicament but they do accomplish the end of dividing us into tribes ready to go at the throats of those who sustain a different view of reality.
Uncertainty can only be overcome through collaboration. When the herd rests united it is easier to face foes and adversity. Accordingly, all these views need to be integrated into public policies. These policies should then become universal. Because the technology induced nge, it is affecting the whole planet. And this could be achieved by raising the flag of cooperation. Signs that it might be the case came from the US Congress which for the first time in many years enacted legislation on a bipartisan basis. And this happened without much noise. Perhaps our legislators have learned a lesson or two of the people's following of the Utah monolith.