“What shall I do now? What shall I do?”/I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street/”With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?/“What shall we ever do?”
The words are from T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” published exactly one century ago, when they haunted a world shaken by a barbaric, convulsive war that had upended all received notions of a post-Enlightenment humanity embedded firmly in reason and aiming toward limitless progress and the common good.
The fact that a second, even more destructive and demonic war engulfed the world not even two decades later simply added to the tone of desperation and floundering Eliot had noted.
Today, the same questions are being asked by an almost equally shell-shocked American population, hard off the latest mass slaughter of innocents by a malformed 18-year-old youth armed with weapons of war.
And the question haunts: “What shall we do now?”