Impending Insanity (Wholesale) :: By Edwin Tan

The last global conflict did witness immense pain and suffering. Combatants and civilians in the thousands perished amidst unspeakable horrors, while disruptions to life as many knew it then was the order of the day. Despite the tumultuous aftermath of worldwide bloodletting spanning almost six years, there was a noteworthy recovery of robust proportions. Countries and their colonies got down to the business of reviving their economies in the spirit of postwar reconstruction. New jobs were created with no shortage of participants who were in the pink of health – physically and mentally!

There were certainly a lot of people who were scarred by a lengthy war, but relatively few would be of the sort requiring long-term institutionalization. Why the case? Prior to the commencement of hostilities, a large proportion of the global workforce was primary engaged in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and transportation. The commercial and services sector did exist but in a simplified format when compared to present-day standards. Much of the working population did jobs that were physically and oftentimes mentally demanding.

For the most part, lifestyles may not have been spartan, but it was simple. Making do with a little more than the bare necessities was quite the norm. A good number were content with it. With this sort of mindset, the get-on-with-it approach got the world back to its feet in almost record time. A sizeable number added to the figures employed in the construction industry, which was the engine of postwar economic boom. Then again, this was an industry that required fit bodies and sound minds.

Because of the mental toughness against the backdrop of a booming economy, families started to mushroom – thereby creating what we know as the postwar baby boomers. These were the backbone of the prosperous Swinging Sixties. This generation still took on much from their parents, albeit a slight degree of sophistication. Alongside surf plus rock and roll, most of the younger bunch still attended church in the fashion of their folks. Affluence existed, but the status-symbol element was somewhat not capable of reading its ugliness. The most common mention of it would be the phrase ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ in a little more than cursory way!

As the millennium dawned, the mindsets of the successive generations took on a heightened degree of sophistication. Status consciousness followed suit in lockstep. Simply going for the basics was deemed to be out of sync; by then the age of consumerism dictated the norms of the new age where the emphasis on exclusivity took centerstage. What you wore, what you drove, where you dined, where you jet-setted to and the type of house you lived in would speak volumes about the person you were in everybody’s eyes. All about self versus others!

The workplace was rapidly transformed; increased automation amidst technological advances meant less employees in the traditional sectors with some becoming redundant. In its place, new groupings emerged while others that existed attained a heightened state of enhancement. It now became the cool thing to be holding a job in the technology sector if not the travel and hospitality trades.

With great strides in technology, the notion of everything in an instant at the touch on the screen of a smartphone is a day-to-day thing. Everything has to be swift and convenient. A typical day, whether at work or play, has to be more than plain sailing. A slight hiccup is cause for rising tempers if not a howl of derision.

Enter the current pandemic. The above-mentioned notion has indeed received more than a kick and punch. No more fast-and-user-friendly. But there is a whole lot more – the glamour jobs are gone as large swathes of the world economy are as good as decimated. Paychecks have passed on, while some are on life support. “Bang” goes references to status symbols as celebrated appointments vanish in the midst of growing corporate failures. Even for those with the money, where are the shops and restaurants? Then there is that inevitable lockdown, varying in degrees of intensity depending on country of residence or, for that matter, the whims and fancy of the local powers that be. Being cooped up in a fixed location for an extended period of time can be a drag on anybody’s psychological well-being, only made worse by slews of negative news from whichever media source.

Even with the prospect of easing surfacing, the familiarity that most mental lexicons are ingrained with through years of going through the motions puts many in a poor position to stomach the reality that has undergone a radical facelift. Wearing Personal Protective Equipment, social distancing and, in a growing number of instances, strict entry/exit scrutinies account for an alien environment little known to mankind. All this against a recent past that never saw it coming. A very steep learning curve with minimal time for digestion?

No one is capable of avoiding the psychological strain that has a nasty impact on virtually each member of the human race. It is therefore a question of who is strong enough to weather this breakneck-speed readjustment. Sad to say, those that have had it on Easy Street would be in worse-off shape. What about their immediate loved ones? Not a pretty picture indeed; this concern was only recently sounded by the World Health Organization!

But for us who put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Living Word versus the hallmarks of worldly status symbolism, we are assured of having that peace that surpasses all human understanding. No doubt we are impacted by what is happening, but it could be just a scratch – all because of His unfailing strength and compassion.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

If there are those who strongly yearn for peace despite all the prevailing tumult and thereby choose to stay sane, call upon the name of Jesus. Invite Him to take hold of your life. He stilled the tempest on the Sea of Galilee; He will do so in today’s maelstrom!

Comforting and encouraging in Christ,