FINAL CHAPTER: How often can humans 'die' and be 'reborn'?
WHEN the devourer of worlds struck in wrathful strokes, you were yet young, or unborn. Its vile arms smote almost all things living and lying upon the earth, so that few were untouched. And out of its vengeful mouth and nostrils did finally come the most ghastly of fires which consumed the spirit and soul of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug 6 and 9.
Such was the spirit of destruction unleashed by foolish and wise men alike on their brethren. The dreadful war from 1939 to 1945 stole 60 million lives, scarred hundreds of millions more, and savaged the finest lands and creations of man and woman.
But this, too, did the cataclysm do. In its furnace of inescapable misery was wrought a new world order, such that was never seen by the finest of seers.
Being briefed on the heritage room by What shall grow after annihilation?
Much of the old labyrinth was destroyed, but new and brighter paths were laid.
Historians R.R. Palmer, Joel Colton and Lloyd Kramer put it mildly, ".. the Second World War was unquestionably one of the definitive, shaping events in world history".
But we need to traverse a little further back in time, to look past the cruel convulsions of 1939 into the years after the Great War of 1914-1918, in order to perhaps comprehend the upheavals and suffering that might be ours to endure in the 21st century.
In the 10 years following the "war to end all wars", the nations of the earth had grown wealthy. "Prosperity became the magical term, and some thought that it would last indefinitely, that the secret of human plenty and of progress had been found, and that science and invention were at last realising the hopes of the ages".
So it is written in A History Of The Modern World.
Haven't we heard like utterances in epochs past? At the height of the Roman empire, perhaps, when the titans Augustus and Marcus Aurelius strode from east to west and north to south, towering over peoples and palaces of kingdoms conquered? Which citizen and member of the Roman senate would have thought that the end was sweeping in with the currents yonder?
We know, of course, of the disaster in the 1920s that came after World War 1, that decimated economies and drove governments to build defensive trade walls. The malice of the Great Depression was too great, and life and land quailed before it the world over.
Then, as it is now, there were too many entrenched practices and attitudes in the business of living and ruling in the world.
The best and the worst ways of man in politics and economy collided and commingled, not necessarily on equitable terms.
Thus it was that World War 2 destroyed much of the old and made things anew. New nations, new science, new ways, new thinking. A new "Eden", such that all who lived then thought the dark and despairing chapters of years past would never be revisited again.
But what if the war had not happened? Would things have changed anyway? Could they? Or might we have been contented like the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah with all that was in us and about us?
We have now grown old, and have forgotten the malice which was reared in history, but which yet grows among us, bidding its time.
In this season of growing wealth and poverty, in mind and possessions and actions, the cycle repeats itself, and the next unknowable calamity will come. But tragic it is that only distress can awaken us, and gird us with the courage and will to remake the realm.
The next devourer of worlds may be an economic meltdown, a nuclear war, a comet strike, an earthquake, an alien invasion, or the coming of the angels.
Then shall oceans become deserts,
The lands shall concede to the seas,
In cities shall death's grip assert,
Wounded life shall do nothing but flee.
The chance to change is no more.
By DAVID CHRISTY | firstname.lastname@example.org Source: News Straits Times Clumnist 12 August 2012