What Age is This?

Bill Shakespeare was a man with deep insights into the human mind and by extension, human beha-viour. In As You Like It, he proposes that a man’s life can be divided into seven ages.

“All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

The seven ages or seven stages being infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childhood, “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”.

But if we talk of the ages of mankind, then we have to go back much further into history, to my distant-relative ancestor, the Greek poet Hesiod, who declared 5 Ages of Mankind – The Golden Age, when men lived among the gods, and freely mingled with them. Peace and harmony prevailed during this age. Humans did not have to work to feed themselves, for the earth provided food in abundance. They lived to a very old age but with a youthful appearance and eventually die dpeacefully. Then came the Silver Age, in which humans lived for on e hundred years as infants. They lived only a short time as grown adults, and spent that time in strife with one another. This was followed by the Bronze Age in which men were hard. War was their purpose and passion. The men of this age were undone by their own violent ways. The Heroic Age followed. In this period men lived with noble demigods and heroes. This was the Age of Thebes and of Troy. Finally, the Iron Age, in which Hesiod himself lived. During this Age humans lived an existence of toil and misery and might was right, and bad men used lies to be thought good. At the height of this age, humans no longer felt shame or indignation at wrongdoing. Sounds familiar? Is history repeating itself?

Geologically speaking the ancient history of our planet is often divided into 4 Ages – the Ice Age, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. But what Age are we living in? Does it even have a name? What name would you give our present times? What aspect of human civilization has remained continuous for say the past thousand years? In one word, conflict. Ours is the Age of Conflict. East versus West, North versus South, White versus Black, one religion versus another, rich versus poor, young versus old, man versus woman and in the tbl context, big business versus everyone else!

Or at least this is how the Greens see it. And pray why should they
not? Isn’t it big business that Napalmed and Agent Oranged Vietnam not too long ago? Isn’t it big business that produced the weapons of mass destruction that killed or maimed a million Iraqis while trying to find other weapons of mass destruction that never existed? Isn’t it big business that is deforesting the planet faster than you can

The other conflicts I have mentioned may not have a clear solution. But the big business versus everyone else conflict does. It is called CSR and it doesn’t really cost that much. Big business only has to demonstrate a will.

Tailpiece: Praetor wishes to express sincere gratitude for the quite overwhelming appreciation of the CSR Song in the last issue of this publication. The very popular tbl website and Twitter recorded a large response, with over a 100 hits.

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