I want to go to war
With all the sabre-rattling emanating from Russia these days, a new anxiety phenomenon has beset some Europeans. Out of fashion, if only for the moment perhaps, is our newfound collective ‘climate change anxiety’. In its place the not-so-far-fetched fear of a world that could descend into chaos at any moment.
I wonder then if I am the only person who is not just unfearful of a potential (or impending) invasion of Ukraine, but rather excited by it. The idea of two global powers duking it out promises a landscape of glory, destruction, intrigue, and power — adjectives of which humanity has been deprived during the utterly soul-crushing pandemic. Despite knowing full well that war, especially one involving at least one nuclear superpower, is an extremely dangerous affair and could threaten hundreds of years of human progress, I can’t resist the temptation to see buildings razed and age-old quibbles settled at the end of a bayonet.
Like so many other devious, opportunistic, and even evil thoughts that creep into our heads, this is one may be the emblematic culmination of restlessness discontentment with the current global situation. Where I live in Luxembourg, we find ourselves living with the remnants of government overreach in the form of pandemic controls, despite having averaged between zero and two COVID-related deaths per day for the past 10 months. Before the pandemic, and still now, I live in a country that prides itself on being the host to the administrative offices of the European Parliament, a symbol of democracy a world over. Yet only about half of the voting-age population that resides legally in my country are eligible to vote in national elections.
Before the pandemic, and still now, I work a meaningless 9–5 job that pays me far more money than I need to survive the remaining 6–8, yet far less happiness compared to what I would need to call my life ‘fulfilling’. The anti-materialist line of thinking has had its day in the sun, but I’ll give it a go anyway: if you enjoy filling your apartment with cool shit, you’re probably not cool, but you may be a shitty person.
Before the pandemic, and still now, I struggled to resist the impersonality of the internet age. The pandemic gave me an excuse to give in and become impersonal. The era of spontaneous street conversation died beneath a mask about two years back, suffocation of the human spirit the official cause of death.
Before the pandemic, and still now, we put up with lackluster politicians and their anti-establishment counterparts who, in the end, turned out to be quite unwilling to implement broad-based innovative change. It turns out that whether a politician declares himself a liberal or a populist, principles are the first liabilities to be discarded as deadweight when any semblance of a crisis emerges, with the use of force and law the solution of choice.
What has the world become if not a trash heap of hypocrisy and inadequacy, and fear? I know it’s always been that way, and is decisively better now than it ever has been, at least on a material level. But being raised in the 21st century, I have higher hopes that we as humans can and will overcome our weaknesses and build a new, fairer, bolder society, free from the inflexible conceptualizations of the past. That’s the war that’s worth fighting.