Ollie's Modern Life

In what is shaping up to be the 2020 sequel that nobody asked for, Ollie Peart envisions a planet-wide human renaissance

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It’s January. It’s cold, wet and dark. We are in the midst of lockdown 3.0 and have been told that the coming weeks are going to be some of the worst in the history of the NHS. People are being fined for breaking rules, while those staying inside are shouting at each other on social media, all while a virus runs riot across the globe.

My family WhatsApp group, a safe haven of stupid jokes and funny photos of my neice, has now become a shitposting cesspool, as my parents brains are being manipulated by the bullshit they consume online. Bullshit they believe to be true.

It will be a memorable January, for all the wrong reasons. When will this end?

Recently I’ve started to think that it will never end. What if we find a vaccine for this virus, but then another one pops up? What if people have become void of emotion and fear even the slightest contact with other people when this is all over? Will we all become agoraphobic, emotionally stunted zombies that live online?

In short. No. I’ve had an epiphany. The ’20s are going to be the best decade yet.

History has a habit of repeating itself and the roaring ’20s of the 1900s have more in common with us now than simply a number. The era came off the back of a war which killed 20 million people and a pandemic which killed 50 million. It was unimaginably horrific, a far worse situation than we find ourselves in now. Still, in the following years economics boomed. Modernity became accessible to the masses, new presidents returned ‘normalcy’ and society became more equal.

Compared to today’s standards though, the economic and societal peaks of the 1920’s will pale into insignificance compared to what we are about to go through. 

A perfect storm for a positive outcome is brewing; it’s just difficult to see. 

We’ve all been given the last year to reflect on what is most important to us. This time will be immeasurably impactful on our future. When the pandemic is under control, we will step out into the world with a new sense of purpose, as if our brains have been re-tuned to see everything in 8K super-duper resolution. We know what matters, and we know what doesn’t.

When it comes to work we will, en masse, demand better pay, better working conditions and more equality in the workplace. We will demand more time off and flexible working hours. More than that, we will demand that the companies we work for push for real change. We will want to make a difference in our work, not just make money. Companies will have to re-evaluate where they put their focus, choosing long term investments that benefit society rather than get-quick-rich schemes which plunder our planet. A dawn of socially responsible capitalism will sweep through the 2020s.

At home, a revolution in automation and robotics in particular will mean we spend less time on doing the things we hate and more time doing the things we love. In fact, we will actively demand it and tech companies will fulfil it. Cooks will become chefs, musicians; composers, painters; artists, writers; novelists. It will be a cultural boom. The ’20s will witness the richest period in arts and culture we have ever seen.


Politics will feed less on populism and nationalism, but on a renewed sense of working together

Politics will feed less on populism and nationalism, but on a renewed sense of working together. World leaders will be under pressure to bring things back on the level and we will demand cronyism and corruption is dealt with harshly and swiftly. The likes of Trump were the last dying breath from our hate-filled past. They’re gone, and in the ’20s we will move on. We will move on with more nuanced debate, socially responsible ideas and community focus. 

It will be different than the 1920s for sure. We will be more aware of what we consume than they were, because we HAVE to be. But it’s fine, because after the year we’ve had, we know we are on this planet for a more purposeful reason than to consume.

The renewed sense of purpose I keep jabbering on about isn’t a self-centred one. It’s a realisation that we are all in this together. We have all been through the pandemic. It may have impacted us in different ways, but we have all been through it. It’s forced us to realise that actually, we are going through everything else together too. Everything affects everyone, be it climate change, poverty, equality, education or healthcare. We’ve seen it first hand and as a society we will pay more attention to these matters than ever before. 

It will be glorious. 

How can I be so positive?... What’s the alternative?


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