Words for 2018

The stage. It’s been here for something like four and a half billion years, despite meteors crashing into it, various cataclysms and the hand of mankind. Despite holes hear and there in the ozone layer and the chronic inflammation of wars for which there seems to be no remedy. According to Global Peace Index del 2016, the list of the safest countries, only 10 out of 196 countries make the grade. And yet our stage, the Earth, is a wonderful place to experience existence (conflicts notwithstanding). Everything and everyone gives it a go: good and evil fight it out, beauty and its opposites, wealth and poverty run a close race; every known species, humans and Martians, acquaintances and complete strangers: every one of them trying to transform all manner of desires into reality. The planet Earth deserves at least one love song, if only because it puts up with us, even as we do what we please, believing, building, destroying and even not doing anything. The most appropriate choice might be Ed Sheeran’s How Would You Feel, which is also a bit weepy. Those who are not moved can always imaging where we’re headed. But. Where, exactly?
 
Where. According to the Indian guru and astronomer Priya Nath Karar, better known by his monastic name of Sri Yukteswar Giri, our solar system is headed towards a point in the cosmos. In his book Kaivalya Darshanam (The Holy Science), published in 1894, he reassures us that we are on the way there. In fact, we are approaching Vishnunabhi, the centre of creative power of Brahma that regulates Dharma, mental virtue. On the basis of the master’s calculations, we left the farthest limit in 499 A.D. and, in around 12,000 years, we will reach the objective. To have an idea of what point we’re at, you need to think of a clock that shows the time as around 8 o’clock. At the end of this journey, we will enjoy the full effects of the creative nucleus; we will be so highly developed that Superman will be nothing to us. We will also be ready to turn back, which will engage us for another 12.000 years, during which time we will progressively lose the powers we had acquired until we slide into the darkest nothingness. But if you prefer a more scientific version, our solar system does, in fact, move, with an elliptical revolution within our galaxy, at an average speed of 250 km/s in an apparent direction. This version, however, does not tell us what superpowers we will have at the end of the race, but for sure we will be different.
 
Different. Get out of your own way, from U2’s latest album Songs of Experience, is an invitation to change track. A way of making a turnaround or deviation for anyone who is unhappy with the way things are or who wants something else. In order to change we need to break the rules that govern us. Over time, we have tried with intuitions and revolutions to achieve a sufficient level of freedom to make a leap ahead. Or rather, to enjoy the freedom that the leap enables us to achieve.
 
Achieve. The enormous success of social media appears to confirm that the achievement of at least a small level of fame is a boon to one’s existence. Consequently, we can enjoy our daily moments and slivers of glory – boosting our self-esteem, enhancing our reputation, living in a sort of existential cosiness called ‘sharing’ – and perhaps even being inspiring. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, there’s work to be done.
 
Work. In Italy, the retirement age is now around 67. For those for whom work is essential to their existence, this means you have to remain ‘presentable’ i.e. continue to look your best, even after a certain age. This goes hand in glove with the fact that we don’t really like getting old: being less appealing and staying on the bench means to stop playing. Perhaps this is why there is a proliferation of anti-aging products around the world. With a forecast of a rise from revenues of $250 billon in 2016, to an estimated $331.5 billion in 2021.
 
2021. According to a recent survey by the World Economic Forum, by 2021 the jumble of beings inhabiting the planet will be enhanced by evolved robots, which will mean that humans will have more free time and the problem of what to do with it. The less advanced robots that we already have at home, washing machines and dishwashers, are destined to evolve. But this will be nothing compared with new scenarios such as the possibility of implanting web-connected devices into the body (similar to things like what we now naively call smartphones), cities without traffic lights, ubiquitous sensors connected to the internet, and many other solutions that will make life on earth increasingly surprising. It’s basically the day after tomorrow, are we ready?
 
Ready. Of course we are! Especially for 2018. If we weren’t, we would be late in the here and now, which would mean being elsewhere, with respect to the scene we have depicted. But the stage is well and truly set.
 
Paolo Rossetti
 
Video concept Luca Uliana, Paolo Rossetti
Music Marco Rossetti, Space tree

Date

January 2018