Watched a documentary recently about the Black Death. The known world had death rates of 25-50%. Think about that. No family was spared. Things got completely psychotic for a while, what with flagellants whipping themselves publicly (when they weren’t partying with the fair maidens) and Jews being slaughtered (surely they must be to blame, let’s torture them until they confess.) But the Black Death did finally burn itself out. When it was over, the population size was much less, so there were no more food shortages. Thus, peasants didn’t have to indenture themselves to royalty any more, they simply moved on. With more spare time, culture began to flower, and this eventually led to the Renaissance.
What we’re going through now is a blip compared to the Black Death. Still, there are unsettling parallels. The slaughter and torture of innocents by frenzied mobs looking for someone to blame, happens too often in history. Religion can provide a rationalization for it too. We are to blame for letting the Jew spread the Black Death, so torturing him is only just and might save his soul too. Uh huh. Or maybe that Jew had been a moneylender and if he’s dead, then the debts never need be repaid, now do they?
Will our planet, currently straining to provide resources to all, have another Die-off? Or will climate change and peak oil will somehow lead to another flowering of culture and technology?