At the end of G.K. Chesterton’s novel “The Man Who Was Thursday,” protagonist Gabriel Syme makes the following remark,
“Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding its face? If we could only get round in front — ”
In other words, the first problem that needs to be recognized before anything is that our perceptual capacities and level of consciousness are simply unable to fully grasp what we are really dealing with on Planet Earth.
That’s not a riot in the streets, but the back of a riot.
That is not a virus, but the back of a virus.
That’s not a political crisis, but the back of one.
That is not a Google server holding the world’s information, but the back of a server, etc.
Until we are able to admit that we are seeing things all wrong; until our leaders can admit that we can’t even see “the front of things” in this world, the multilayered global crisis — political, ecological, economic, etc. — we are now facing is going to get exponentially worse in the coming months and years.
We are approaching everything from the back of things without realizing it.