Farsightedness, concreteness, and a sort of housewife’s ability.
When constrained by the grip of the atrocious events of recent years, we lean towards contemporary, with one hand stretched forward and the other back, after the first inevitable sweep of surface dust, a real and profound problem remains on our table: interconnectedness. «One flap of a seagull’s wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever».
These were the words that inspired the idea of the famous butterfly effect, where the butterfly replaces the poor seagull. The ‘butterfly effect’ is the theory for which a single event that happens – even in remote places – can have consequences on a global scale; or that the actions of a single individual can reverberate to the point of moving the entire community.
Today’s fragmentation falls on our breakfast table every morning, between tea and biscuits, presenting the various analyses: The Pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine clash, China going slow but far, the United States, the Middle East; almost impossible. No wonder why in a continuous succession of dramas the result that seems unexpected is that we feel apathetic.
In the documentary series “Connected”, currently available on Netflix, the journalist and popular scientist Latif Nasser in the episode entitled “Dust” informs us how the sand of the Sahara nourishes and fertilises the soil where the Amazon Rainforest grows; thanks to the presence of the remains of animals in the sand from lakes that have now dried up, we have an extremely powerful and airy fertile compound in the Sahara! In fact, thanks to the winds that move between the two continents, the phosphorus contained in the sand flies and crosses the rich foliage of the forest until it reaches its soil like a holy nourisher.
A sight of mother nature transcending time and space, moving us to think about how there are orders beyond our comprehension that generate not only the beauty we can experience but also what is fundamental to the life of the human species on Earth.
Similarly, it is interesting how while we mourn for the death of one or another of our current nefarious occurrences, wheat has become the unsuspecting thread that holds them all together.
China has been harvesting its own food supplies in large quantities for years, especially wheat which is estimated to be 15% of the world’s necessities. And who are the world’s biggest wheat producers? Regrettably, our neighbours are Ukraine and Russia. And while this idea finds its way into our thoughts, Russia has just stopped exporting while Ukraine, busy keeping the Russian invasion at bay, is having trouble in sowing.
In 90 days’ time, we will have to ask not only how to warm ourselves next year, due to the cut in Russian gas exports, but also what to put on the stove and how to get to the supermarket ‒ given the rising cost of fuel.
States in the interconnected world have dislocated their food and energy resources by putting their needs in the hands of others.
Another element connecting all these realities – ultimately incorporating the metaphysical one as well – is the social network Tik Tok, which, like the others, influences the world’s stage, in this case, that of younger people. While in Western countries it is a sort of drug whose addiction is also experienced by the author, in China the government restricts the youth from using it, and the company is required to sponsor educational content that can stimulate the grey cells of the Chinese people.
While the West, where the sun always sets, lies sluggishly without reserves of food, energy and with its head stuffed with superficiality, China fills its granaries with grain and its minds with grano salis.
According to Aristotle, farsightedness was the virtue of Pericles who was able to rule Athens. Pericles was not a sage, as Thales or Socrates might have been: sages describe perfect arrangements for an ideal polis, wise men build a system suited for the solid cultural, social and political situation of a real existing polis.
Farsightedness, concreteness, and a sort of housewife’s ability are what each of the free thinkers aspires to, and the author emphasises the last quality because it embodies the ability to use the tools available to feed our families: to turn the elbow patch of sleeve into a jacket that acquires what today we define as ‘professorial’. You do not need any luminary to understand that if these are the tools of the home, then the tools of the state are only laws and taxes.
Democracies feel a strong stranglehold on them, populations have been subjected to a process of sectorisation of their minds for decades, and a sense of civic duty is reduced to a few posts on social networks (these are all generalisations, for which I ask the forgiveness of all those who, in their daily lives, try to ignite in themselves and those around them the light of reason as vividly as possible). But, for this not to continue, and for a change of pace, we should all remember that democracy, education and peace must be maintained.
If this were not the case, we will have lost sight of both the butterfly and the hurricane between the Siberian springs, the Eastern ambushes, and the Silicon Valley frenzies.