Contemporary world's zeitgeist


"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men...
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass..."

T. S. Elliot, The Wasteland, (1925).


The contemporary world's zeitgeist is dominated by materialism, immediacy and intense individualism that separates us from our proximal and distant ancestors. We are the spoiled children, the defiant conformists and a pruriently confused people who eschew responsibility, hold no one to account, and are losing our sense of proportion.

We are serious Epicureans and skeptics which leaves many non Christian and non-western peoples both intrigued and appalled by our contemporary culture's lack of depth and inability to articulate a vision of the world that cares for other humans, despite the fact we are growing at a rate inconceivable to our grandparents and have money beyond the dreams of our parents.

The great disparity throughout the world between those few who have and those many who want will slowly undue all that we have inherited. So we have a tendency to ignore the challenges and retreat into trivialities.

Emiliano Zapata as painted by Diego Rivera.
Contented, clean and comfortable most western people ignore the plight of developing nations where people have to pay for education, and health care, may not have clean water, and who face extremely low wages for the work they perform.

A widespread relativism causes us to dispute, or at least not readily separate the real from the ideal. We seem unable to avoid or escape from a material entrapment that saps our dedication, drive, and determination to effectively and justly revive the world and its people.


Physics | Biophysics | Biology



words used

Ernst Mayr | Darwinian revolution | Scientific revolution | Wilson | Darwin's importance | Newton | Einstein | Quanta

Source note:

1925: Eliot wrote this poem, "The Hollow Men," during a period of absence from the bank, having just suffered a nervous breakdown.