Featured image: Where Do We Go From Here?
Featured image: We are in the epoch of a crisis. From it, what is our fate? (Kamran Akhter/The Quint)

I once sat at the company of the Great Table, reaching deeply into the soft glow of the room. Opposite me, a giant figure emerged from the light, its shadow towers and stretches, permeating the surface of the wood. It spoke, like a background hum, burrowing itself into the web of my mind, sewing knowledge into the fabric of my consciousness. Like this, it became my voice, the monologue within, as if these thoughts were my own, and from it grew the predictions of truths. The following are what it had to say.

It spoke of an age when there will be no hope, when our own humanity would have forsaken us. We would no longer give praise to the moral, nor the beautiful, nor the poetic, nor the artistic expressions of the individual identity. All these shall fade, engraved into times past, as mere tales of hypothetical fiction. Our minds will be imprisoned by the rigid structures of our unexplored biases, red and inflamed with the firm conviction. Fuelled by the rage of our own justice, we shall find no space for tolerance, no peace, no love, no compassion, no kindness. Anger and hatred will find a new pedestal, as the regal lords of our world, as our motivators. Human decency will be treated as only a gift given to those who have not suffered pain. Long gone will be the stories of those who braved futile wars.

Visions of waters in the rivers, those first ovens which breathed air into life: now bottled and sold, with the commercialisation of nature, our mother, and her resources. Powerful beings shall take away the lands from those who have long called the grounds their homes, and they shall hang, from a noose, as a warning to those who stand in the way of mighty progression. People speak freely and loudly, in compensation of imagination, reason, and critical thought. I saw those brave people stand strong against those who are cruel, those cold and unkind, and I saw them, hands locked, necks crushed, held up as the ceiling to which rows and rows of imprisoners are encased: a new world, concrete masses upon the shoulders of the non-conforming. There shall be no life possible for them here.

Prices shall dictate the values of the world. We will find ourselves one day being able to auction our identities, our heritages and our cultures. People will spend their lives with houses strapped upon their backs, the ironic burden of a home. Faces caught in the shiny reflection of a polished car, Narcissus reborn, we grow infatuated by this new sum of our ambitions, our dreams and goals. We disconnect ourselves by finding avatars within the idyllic realms behind shiny screens, distracting ourselves from the mundanities of numbers and reports: a cup of coffee, another email. No longer will we find the time to simply be. Legions of forward-leaning individuals, fragmentations of our wills, our curiosities, the drives we once had to truly live: they will waste away, and people will pay no mind to time’s new pointless expenditures.

Wide-grinning masks with hollowed, empty black stares shall be advertised by the exiguously elegant, glistening with style and glamour. Our faces shall merge, glued and stuck. The facets and gradients of our emotions shall be overshadowed by myriads of the well-dressed hallucinations of companionship in the deluded delights of attire, drink, and cuisine. We shall find no luxury in clarity, no rest in reality. Hazed and dazed, faces will make no imprint on the memory. This, we shall tell ourselves, is the confidence of modern expression. The real state of our world will become a truth too hard to bear, a problem for medicament. The tragedy is slipping through already. Shades of what we used to want linger just briefly as mere moments, pale silhouettes of love, nullified intimacy.

Children brought into a world under the premise that they must somehow qualify as being fully functional are told they are not enough, so they must always look ahead far into the remote distance. They shall adopt construct in place of creativity, curriculum in place of curiosity and management in place of intrigue. In exchange for their minds we shall instil delusions of honour, grandeur, cheaply symbolised by cap and gown, a sheet of recognition, rather than the genuine acknowledgement of care and appreciation. We will learn to follow, rather than to encourage one another, and our capabilities will be determined by our perseverance to what to think, rather than how. We shall be judged by what we are deemed to know, rather than how we are inspired to contribute: persons fashioned into weapons, armed with mechanical techniques to remove problems rather than to face and fix them. Their caskets shall heave with notes and their sacrifices shall be ‘honoured’ by catchphrases, slogans and political sympathy. Life will be quantitatively valued as an economic variable to the end.

Divided classes shall look above, a new food chain. People will prosper from the calculated sacrificial demise of one another, while the rich and powerful shall shield themselves off with screens of media, weapons and force, and they will tell us that all of this is to protect people and property. The land shall be barren, isolated by concrete, and great monuments of our economic successes shall penetrate the skies until we see nothing but the entrapments of our world from below. Consumed by commercial centres, comforted by cosy distractions and sheltered and secured from our ever-unsatiated hunger for more, we will feel uncompelled.

But there is hope, I reply. One day we will unstrap ourselves from this grim ride and return to ourselves. Reborn again, our masks shall shatter as we recognise the value of the individual, the spirit of the will, the roar of passion, the capacity for compassion and our empathy reaching as far as love shall extend. We shall confront our reflections, which will not be measured by beauty but a contemplation of one’s worth. Our strength will come from our ability to reach out and open ourselves to the magic of our inner galaxies. Hope shall be sprinkled upon us in our realisation that we are one of the ways the universes expresses itself and we can be so much more than we were. We shall seek and craft once again, not only as a means of sustaining life but as an exploration of that which we stay alive for. We must decide who we are. We must move forward by re-establishing our connections to the world.

Ask: ‘Where do I go from here?’