Currents of events
The news in images and words and sound strikes us with such urgency from so many sources with so many biases that the flurry of events has become a blizzard blinding us to the currents. How are the wars, the civil and uncivil protests, mass shootings, new parties and old phobias, the new refugee crisis, global warming and global hunger connected? How are they flowing, and where are they headed?
They are connected, I have no doubt. No event anywhere is without consequences everywhere, that has always been true, but until recent times the connections between, say, the building of the Great Wall in China, the Roman defeat of the Cisalpine Gauls, the founding of Tiwanaku — all these events contributing to the development of our modern world — but before we let our imaginations dive into the currents, we’d better check to see whither they’re flowing.
That’s what I keep trying to do, in essays and especially in fiction, where I can follow the long flow. That must be why I am so attracted to historical fiction, to trace the longest flows, most recently from the 1871 Paris Commune (itself a product of earlier revolutions) on through revolutions in Russia 1905 and 1917, Spartakus in Germany in 1918, and on to Asia, Africa and Latin America.