When CERN turned on the Large Hadron Collider, it created a rift in the space-time continuum and did something nobody held possible: it strengthened the force described by Murphy’s law.
We now live in a different, parallel universe. The pottiest stuff happens.
It’s not just Brexit or Trump. A new theory suggests that gravity itself is a consequence of changes in bits of information stored in the very structure of spacetime. That information better describe our reality than Newton’s matter or Einstein’s relativity. Had you told this anyone to before the LHC was turned on, they’d think you’re mad. But most physicists give this new theory credit because it explains phenomena better than any other theory. But it also gives credence to the idea that we live in a virtual reality, a very far advanced version of an oculus rift world.
All kidding aside, if we look at history and our attempts to explain our being and existence, theorists always borrowed from the most modern of technologies. We humans used to be very precise clocks. Then we became machines, then computers, now we are avatars in a self-programmed world. But each time our actual existence was just out of reach of our narrative.
We’re at the cusp of a crisis that is unlike any before. Western nations may have slumped somewhat since 2007, their citizens still are very wealthy and healthy. They live longer and more productive lives than ever. And yet the discontent is palpable. Migration and Islam are just labels stuck on a feeling of unease and crisis of mission and identity that has little to do with migration and Islam. Some have created a narrative of discontentment, one of of anger, fear and hatred. People indulge in it for lack of a positive alternative. Much of what was promised to the middle classes, if they just worked hard enough, is less available now. Inequality has increased, the middle classes have receded. No matter that we’re better off now than ever, we don’t feel it. The motto of may could be: We can’t aspire for what we do no longer believe in.
The hallmark of populism is the emotion, the attempt to resonate with base feelings. And yet for a positive alternative, society needs a positive populism. One that provides fulfilling lives and careers for most in a society and culture that isn’t as startlingly and often perversely detailed as the current one.
One thing is for certain, Le Pen offers a simpler vision, but it’s so vague because there is no rational path towards it. But perhaps with our reality being something we can redefine in facebook, perhaps rationalism is a pre-LHC thing.