“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Charles Dickens had a shrewd realization of just how fiercely sentiments of optimism grappled with the counter-sentiments of deep pessimism as humankind considered its prospects.
Of course, Victorian England provided an enormous amount of intellectual raw materials for the backers of both the optimistic and the pessimistic positions. Dark mills belched forth coal smoke as hideously exploited laborers turned a rural and agricultural past into an urban and industrial future.
Humankind managed to survive this process, even if just barely, and the long-term results have been mostly positive.
Let’s hope the same can be said of our own 21st century world condition of turmoil, bloodshed and downright genocidal horror in more than a few locales. The world is suffering greatly. Gloom and darkness are the reality for far too many parts of the Earth.
We’re told that it’s darkest just before the dawn. I certainly hope so, because the misery enshrouding our Earth is truly the darkest black. Anyone who doubts this needs only to read a few snippets of news from the Latin America drug wars or from the ongoing Pan-Arabism political insurgency.
Honesty demands that we call this “the worst of times.”
Frank W. Goheen