"The remarkable characteristic of the crises of today is their continuity." - David Burnett King, American educator and author
British author Anthony Sampson has written at least three "anatomies of Britain" in recent decades. The first two were useful, but his latest edition conveys a clear urgency. Even the title tells us that the focus has shifted into a higher gear-a crisis mode.
The Essential Anatomy of Britain: Democracy in Crisis includes a chapter containing an obvious warning to the British government to get its house in order. No such chapter appeared in the two previous editions.
It was British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks who wrote: "Today's prophets, I realised with some sadness, are often not religious leaders but a small group of academics, who breaking free of disciplinary specialisation, have surveyed our age from the broadest of perspectives and brought back a report of imminent danger" (Faith in the Future, Dartman, Longman and Todd, London, 1995, p. 65).
Such prophetic voices have been sounding warnings for some time, pointing to the ominous signs on the world scene. Some are foretelling a crisis that will signal a massive change on our precious planet.
This is clearly reflected in the titles of several recent books. American author James Dale Davidson and his British counterpart William Rees-Mogg jointly titled their book, The Great Reckoning. Eric Hobsbawm warned us in The Age of Extremes.
David Burnett King notes in The Crisis of Our Time: "... There exists a profound feeling of unease... we are passing through some sort of crisis, riding out a sea change that will somehow make the future very different from our past" (Susquehanna University Press, Selingsgrove, 1988, p. 17).
The real truth is that we are now approaching a transition period between two ages, our age and the one Jesus Christ called "the age to come" (Matthew 12:32). We now live at the end of a century of crisis, with world trends promising more in the 21st century.
Wrote Hobsbawm: "We know that behind the opaque cloud of our ignorance and the uncertainty of detailed outcomes, the historical forces that shaped the century are continuing to operate" (The Age of Revolution, Michael Joseph, London, 1994).
Hobsbawm shows that the earth cannot continue to bear the unwanted fruits of the darker aspects of modern technology forever. He continues: "... We have reached a point of historic crisis. The forces generated by the techno-scientific economy are now great enough to destroy the environment, that is to say, the material foundations of human life" (ibid.).
As David King wrote: "The nature of crisis has changed. The remarkable characteristic of the crises of today is their continuity-they have moved in, it seems, to stay" (The Crisis of our Time, Susquehanna University Press, Selingsgrove, 1988). In this modern age, this wisdom is self-evident. GN