Curious Trends

25/09/2010

The New Dark Ages - Primeval style


We’re currently experiencing something of a New Renaissance. The renewed and growing interest in art, culture, design, invention, anatomy, scientific discovery, natural history, travel, philosophy and collecting seems to be inspired by trends that began in and around the 15th Century. Another similarity is that we’re again in a time of philanthropy, where many in the creative sector rely on the patronage of wealthy individuals for funding.

Of course, this is also a digital Renaissance. We now have the Internet and modern forms of communication, which makes the type of travel, invention and art somewhat different from the past. Our view of what constitutes ‘knowledge’ and our consideration of what’s worthy of collecting have also changed significantly.

But what does the future have in store?



We may be able to survive an economic slowdown…but how about a melt down, with mass popular dissent and brutal revolution?

I’m not suggesting this is going to happen, but there’s a possibility. The social, technological, religious and economic transformations that most nations have undergone in recent decades have been rapid and radical to say the least. What’s more, the gulf between rich and poor is wider and more evident than ever – especially in the area of education and learning.



A curious trend I’ve also spotted lately is a fascination with the ‘primeval’. In the UK, we had some experience of a world without air travel earlier in the year, when an Icelandic volcano erupted, emitting thick clouds of dust into the atmosphere around our islands. This slowed us down… and made us think.

Another thing that made me think was an item I heard on Radio 4 earlier in the week about activity taking place on the sun. Reports of a potentially devastating solar flare that could possibly wipe out global electricity supplies in 2013 was quite a sobering thought, even at 8.30 in the morning. Never mind a drop of rain in London, perhaps we should start following the space weather forecasts from now on?

How will our new digital superstructure survive in a world without power?




And how much do we need to worry? Should we be digging out caves, learning to make fires, and reawakening our primordial survivalist instincts so we can kill animals and grow our own crops? Should we be focusing on survival techniques rather than sustainability? The idea of self-sufficiency seems less indulgently idealistic if the ‘New Dark Ages’ are lurking just around the corner…



Comments

By Worm on 06/11/2010 08:41:24

If all our caves would look as cool and stylish as the one in your pic then I say bring on the apocalypse!

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