Bridges to cross

WE, humans, genuinely believe that we are the masterpiece of all of the Creator’s works. Our intelligence is so great that we fictionalize only aliens could match or beat us.

Certainly, we know that physically we are no match to the noble lion. But the lion, while having more intelligence than a chicken, is far below a pig. A lion looking out over the African savannah thinks “Zebra. Run. Eat.” Of course, that also describes the average young heterosexual male at a bar on Ladies’ Night. Or me on first seeing a five-star hotel dinner buffet.

But in truth, we humans are often not much more sophisticated in our intelligence than the lion looking at the zebra.

There are only two local newspaper columnists that I read regularly. One is a voice “crying in the wilderness:” the other has been “crying” since the 2016 election. But they are both articulate, do good research, and have historical perspective. Most of the rest of us are scribblers who rant and rave whatever comes to mind.

I mention that for two reasons. Humans are hardwired—like the beasts of the field—to “Zebra. Run. Eat.” Obviously there is a survival purpose to that. Unlike humans, though, beasts are more adequately prepared to adjust to their environment. Therefore, one of the dumbest attitudes possible is found in this human statement. “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” Perhaps that is why lions rarely fall off the cliff while humans do all the time.

In an editorial on February 14 titled “Covid-19: What if…?,” I quoted American author James Howard Kunstler: “What if the coronavirus turns out to be a genuine pandemic, not some punk-ass bug like SARS…and goes logarithmic in the USA? Might the November presidential election have to be postponed?”

As the clock ticks down and the pandemic rages on, that “bridge” is starting to show on the horizon. Is the US ready to cross it?

A brilliant columnist—by my standards—is virtually unheard of locally although he is a Filipino by birth, living in Australia since 1997. Richard Fernandez wrote a few days ago about the Revolutions of 1848 that swept across Europe, creating new nations, breaking monarchies and establishing republics. There were “political” reasons. But one catalyst was the Irish potato famine or The Great Famine, a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. From 1841 to 1851, the Irish population fell by 20 percent from deaths and immigration.

Fernandez writes, “After the potato famine, the Irish ruling elite was never the same again but that was the least of it. The subsistence failure of 1845 led to 1848, known as “the year of revolutions.”

He quotes philosophy professor Michelle Maiese from 2003. “Intractable conflicts—conflicts that stubbornly seem to elude resolution—are ones that remain unresolved for long periods of time and then become stuck at a high level of intensity and destructiveness.” Fernandez ends with: “The petty disputes of our own time are destined to unfold into the great questions of the future. We just don’t know what they’ll be yet.”

The Philippines has these also and the sides are blurred. “Oligarch-busting” or petty politics? Sacrifices for the nation or losing human rights? Flexible foreign policy or bowing to another master?

Fernandez: “Natural disasters not only cause their own devastation, they accelerate underlying trends.” We have many bridges to cross in the future.

E-mail me at Visit my web site at Follow me on Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis tools provided by the COL Financial Group Inc.


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