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Making Predictions in Precarious Times

I suppose that, certainly within the lifetimes of those living on this planet today, there has not been a period when people did not feel that modern life was precarious. Still, while modern war; viral epidemic; economic calamity; ecological catastrophe; are not novel concerns it has been rare that any of them have been felt so keenly as we feel them now, let alone feel all of them so keenly at the same time as the U.S. President himself draws comparisons between the present moment and the Cuban Missile Crisis; as we continue grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic; as decades of creditism and speculation and the disruptions of war and disease come to a head in a historic burst of price inflation; as anthropogenic global warming proceeds virtually without serious governmental efforts at curbing emissions or offsetting or mitigating their effects.

Amid all that speculating about what tomorrow might bring — to say nothing of the harder business of making forecasts — seems even chancier than before, so much so that to speculate about the littler things of life underlain by the big things — to speculate, for instance, about how nice self-driving cars might be as we dread the escalation of perhaps the most dangerous international crisis in human history — can seem pointless or trivial to the point of being an embarrassment. Still, the problems of everyday life remain with us — and will remain in the absence of the worst, as we can only hope they will.

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Nader Elhefnawy

Nader Elhefnawy is the author of the thriller The Shadows of Olympus. Besides Medium, you can find him online at his personal blog, Raritania.