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For the last several years, and with no particular objective, I have taken the period between Christmas and New Years Eve to produce a s summary of the slice of the year to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms. It follows an end of year tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), 2018 (for those see here), and 2019 (for those see here).
At the end of 2019 I wrote as the introduction to 2019's closing epigrams and aphorisms the following:
The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century. (Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms).
The year 2020 has indeed proven to be the year of end games of all sorts, the aftermath of the big bang that was now the faded memory of 2019. It was a year that was consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that was hardly all--many things happened under the cover of the virus. This was the year of the transformation of Hong Kong, of the realization that governance was becoming both data driven and managed by algorithms, and of the indulgence in state killings to suit the tastes of their leaders. It was the year that saw the return of borders and the refinement of the techniques useful for managing the movements of populations from the most to the least developed states. It was the year the Americans were continued their civil war and in which the rupture of the aristocratic elites produced successful campaigns to demonize virtually anyone. Indeed, beyond the virus, 2020, appears to have been the year of the demon, it was the year of oni (鬼, demons) and yurei (幽霊, ghosts); it was the year the demons (恶魔) left hell (地狱).