18th Jun, 20

“And nobody, nobody knows what is going to happen to anybody” On the Road - Jack Kerouac

The last paragraph of the last page. Jack Kerouac wrote this classic book to say this one line. You can feel it when you read it. You can feel the build up to it. Everything in the previous pages becomes incidental. All of the chasing around, the existential angst ridden chaos of the central character, the constant search for meaning and experience. The pursuit of relief and distraction is all incidental.

Page 103 of his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Victor Frankl writes, “No man knew what the future would bring…much less the next hour”. Written in the months after he had been freed from Auschwitz.

Athens, 399BC, Socrates is sentenced to death. His crime, asking Athenians the question, ‘What do you know to be true?’

This recurring theme, this theme that appears time after time in great literature. Observed by great thinkers, people who have given themselves time to think, to reflect on what it means to be alive.

Transport yourself back to the present day, take a look at the press, take a look at social media, listen to people, just listen and try to count the number of times you experience someone suggesting they know more than they do, suggesting they can predict what is going to happen and could have predicted what has happened.

This behaviour, and that is what it is, points to a gap in self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Coronavirus has been a tragic affair. The human cost, nothing like anything the post war generation has experienced before. The credit crunch of 2008 whilst nowhere near the same level of distress was a tragic affair.

The biggest brains, those with the greatest resource and most influential connections. Those with the power to say yes or no. Right across the political spectrum. At some point all get it disastrously wrong. They don’t see it coming or as a collective, hubris sets in and they become complacent. It seems to be part of the human condition and always, the people that pay the highest price are those least equipped to defend against it.

Predicting the future…particularly predicting the future negatively is a thankless and most often worthless task. Because we simply do not know from one minute to the next what will happen.

I have no idea what will happen in the next 5 minutes never mind the rest of my life.

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