(Our Atlanta-based contributor Tør returns to NCS with the first edition of what may become a series — and invites you to contribute.)
The last six months have been difficult for all of us, no doubt. From social upheaval in the US to pandemic-induced lockdowns all around the world, 2020 has been an utter disappointment. In some ways it has been a symbolic disaster; twenty years on from the turn of the millennium, we find ourselves questioning every aspect of our lives, including our collective obsession with conspicuous consumption and entertainment culture, social media and technology, and the impact of conflict, poor governance, and greed on the very fabric of our societies.
We see the devastating impact of callous acts on our individual and global relationships, poor health outcomes, and the gradual devastation of the climate. Homelessness, addiction, and growing income inequality have spun out of control in the US as our politicians bicker over irrelevance and divisive identity politics. One could argue that twenty years on, our post-post-modernist experiment has not only failed, but it has left us exposed and hopeless as well.
Despite all this, the lockdown period has also provided a good opportunity to catch up with the things that should matter, like friends and loved ones, reading, listening to music, and making small improvements where necessary (both around the house and mentally).
I’ve personally tried to deal with the stress and anxiety of this period by reading history books and learning about the events that have shaped various societies throughout the centuries. Somehow learning about devastating natural disasters, civil wars, famine, and disease have helped me put current events in context and appreciate the fleeting nature of life in general, and this current phase in particular.
I’ve also created a playlist that is a soundtrack of sorts to these difficult times, which I share below. If you could add just one song to this list, what would it be?
1. Amber Tears — В Вихре Прошлых Дней | “In the Whirlwind of the Last Days”
2. Sarpanitum – “I Defy For I Am Free”
3. Wake – “Burial Ground”
4. Sinmara – “Hvísl Stjarnanna”
5. Nevermore – “This Godless Endeavor”
6. Be’lakor – “An Ember’s Arc”
7. Drudkh – “Breath of Cold Black Soil”
8. Hegemon – “Interpreting Signs of War: Aruspicine”
9. Monarque – “Mes Condoléances”
10. Hypocrisy – “The Departure”