No End to the Crises; No Hope for World Peace

Global Frequency consists of a number of episodes detailing the undertakings of the agency as it works to resolve crises around the world.  Each episode begins and ends abruptly, with minimal buildup and conclusion. The structure of the collection, moving from episode to episode, moreover, crisis to crisis, is consistent with Kermode’s deductions about the “end” in terms of modern technology.

Kermode’s essay, “The Sense of an Ending,” describes the transition from the end in apocalyptic terms. He writes, “We can see how what I called naïve apocalyptism has been modified to produce (under the pressure and relevance of great new systems of knowledge, technological and social change, of human decision itself) a sense of ends only loosely related to the older predictive apocalypse, and to its simpler notions of decadence, empire, transition, heavens on earth” (Kermode 27-28).  Global Frequency is set in the exact conditions Kermode describes—the “pressure and relevance of great new systems of knowledge, technological and social change, of human decision itself” are critical to the foundation of each episode. The end, both in Kermode’s sense and in Global Frequency, has lost its formal interpretation; it is no longer a singularity in which life approaches, rather “apocalypse, as immanent rather than imminent” (30).  The end of each episode, specifically the end of “Aleph,” captures this philosophy, the end as every moment, every moment a crisis.

While it is typical for the episodes to end just as the crisis is resolved, without dwelling upon the events which lead to the resolution, “Aleph” concludes with nearly three and a half pages of pure, uninterrupted illustration. It is important to note that the final pages are demonstrated using the same few colors. This allows the reader to process the images quickly and to translate the speed of activity. Had the artists chosen to use a broader color scheme, each frame might have required more attention for the reader, slowing the processing. This is also accomplished by the limited dialogue. In the final frame, Aleph reports, “Central is secure. And I’ve got one who can talk. We are going to find out exactly who they were and make sure they don’t hurt anyone else, ever. Because that’s what to the Global Frequency is for” (Ellis). As the immediate crisis, the invasion of central, is fixed, Aleph alludes to the next task. The work of Global Frequency never ceases; rather it moves from crisis to crisis.

The transition, or lack thereof, from crisis to crisis is representative of life in the twenty-first century. Global Frequency often focuses on political concerns while bringing about questions regarding humanity. Simply watching or reading the news makes it rather apparent the political catastrophes plaguing the globe. One crisis ends and another begins.  Despite technology advancing, increasing the resources available to humans, their ability to resolve and prevent crises has not been able to overcome the constantly evolving problems. World peace, a resolution to the world’s problems, not the universal answer of pageant contestants, isn’t attainable in modern times. There is no great end coming; “No longer imminent, the End is immanent” (Kermode 25).

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2 Responses to No End to the Crises; No Hope for World Peace

  1. ideasbylocke says:

    I felt a very similar way while reading through Aleph. I found it very interesting how her chapter’s focus was very much a 1 vs the world mentality. Not in the facet that the odds were incredibly against Aleph; but if she failed, the only “safety” that the world has would be destroyed. It’s just something to keep in mind; the amount of build up that Ellis put into Aleph’s character of genius and her “I don’t really give a shit” mentality at college, which then shifts to the mind set that she would give her life before letting the world plunge into darkness.


  2. danwillisdan says:

    The ending to Aleph accomplishes a nice balance between resolution and open-endedness. The crisis of the present (the potential compromise of central operations) resolves, but it also leads neatly into a greater, albeit unexplored crisis (the threat imposed by the organization which deployed agents to take down central operations). Events like what happens in Aleph are not isolated, they are consequential and interconnected such that at any given moment, at least the threat of crisis looms.


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