If these threats to our existence generated a sensation we could not ignore, which other threats create, such as hunger and thirst, humankind would unite in an effort to eradicate these phenomena, so we may survive. We would not rest complacent – with the hope that those responsible for creating the threats will be the ones to eradicate them – but strive to intervene in political affairs so life, and the planet itself, may be preserved.
Some two hundred and thirty years ago, in 1789, hunger drove the people of France to rebel against those governing their lives. The majority of France’s population were starving, while the governing minority were well fed, and did not seem to care that the majority were not.
This event, known as the French Revolution, established the basic rights of the citizen and disempowered the establishment. The French Revolution triggered a wave of revolutions throughout the world, and is widely regarded as one of the most important events in human history. Consequentially, the governing minority learned a valuable lesson; that the majority must be well fed, since hunger may result in rebellion.
The governing minority have also understood that providing the majority with an abundance of food benefits them on another level, which was recognised during the Roman Empire – a period of rule lasting around one thousand years – when free wheat was given to the people by politicians to gain political favour.
When combined with free entertainment, politicians found the people’s interest in politics was replaced by a desire for food and entertainment, which allowed politicians to conduct their affairs more or less as they pleased.
The Roman poet, Juvenal, created the phrase Panem et Circenses – Bread and Circuses – in the first century AD to label this strategy, and to criticise the populace of Rome for allowing their desire for food and entertainment to override their civic responsibility; of being involved in political affairs.
And now, some two thousand years later, it seems we are deeply entrenched within this strategy. The world of entertainment has grown to immense proportion, and there is an abundance of food in many of the world’s countries.
So, perhaps the Bread and Circuses mentality of our times is one reason the majority are so complacent, even though the reasons to revolt against a governing minority are far greater now than they have ever been. Also; the threats to our existence do not create a sensation we cannot ignore, so we may place them in the back of our minds.
Another factor that may be preventing an uprising of the majority rests in the concept of rebellion against governments; of revolution.
Revolution (noun) – a change in the way a country is governed, usually to a different political system, and often using violence or war.
(Online Cambridge Dictionary)
When contemplating the dictionary definition of the term, and observing the majority of revolutions throughout the course of history, such as the French Revolution, one may assume a revolution an ever-increasing improbability. If an event comparable to the storming of the Bastille in Paris, in 1789, were staged in this day and age, it would almost certainly be thwarted by the police and armed forces.
And when considering further factors in this equation, such as the mentality of the governed, ingrained within the minds of our kind, and an apathy borne from familiarity and the fear of change, it may seem a revolution nears the realms of impossibility.
Yet; although it may be that the Internet’s primary purpose is to provide entertainment, at this point in time, which reinforces the circus element of the Bread and Circuses strategy, a paradox exists, since the Internet may be employed by the majority as a tool to radically transform the way our world is governed; to a manner of governance that would have the potential to create paradise on Earth.
For this opportunity to be realised, the gravity of the situation humankind are in should weigh upon us all, to create a sensation we cannot ignore.