Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Winter is coming

Biking through an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain, I have to admit that it has been a rather rough day with a journal rejection letter and a lecture that somehow failed to connect with the students. Though everyone in Academia probably has such days, it does make you doubt your abilities.

Once at home I make myself an inferno blend espresso. With the Plane Finder app informing me that the plane passing overhead is an Etihad 777-200 on its way to Dallas/Fort Worth, I quickly feel much less miserable, especially after some Swiss dark chocolate. Sometimes, escapism can be such an easy fix.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Xi Jinping is cementing his own rule and pushing China further away from a future of liberal freedom and democratic citizenship (with “Sesame Credits” being the latest and perhaps most ominous example of what essentially amounts to the “gamification of authoritarianism”). Yet, I maintain, the real threat to democracy comes not from regimes like these but our own inability to uphold the values and ideals of democracy at home. In a darkening world, the power of our example is needed more than ever (something which seems completely forgotten with every new round of anti-terror laws).

When I lived in Beijing, the banality of authoritarianism was everywhere to be seen. No one would seriously want such a future for their kids. I am confident that, over time, liberal democracy will prevail and become universal. But right now, it does seem like winter is coming.

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Blogger FM 2030 Relaunched said...

FM2030 would be very disappointed in your downwing sensibility Rasmus:
"Today Optimism is the only relevant outlook.
This is the very first time in evolution at which a philosophy of optimism is possible.
Ours is the First Age of Optimism. We are at Optimism One.
What is the meaning of the philosophy of Optimism? How can we make this philosophy
work for us?
Optimism as a philosophy is squarely predicated on two central developments: our
emerging situation in Time and Space.
Suddenly the barriers are coming down. Suddenly humankind’s situation is not
circumscribed or limited. Not intramundane and not finite.
For the very first time our potentials have become totally limitless. Our future open-ended.
Everything is now suddenly possible. Everything attainable."

5:52 am  

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