The people that walked in darkness
have seen a great light:
they that dwell in the land
of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined.
-- Isaiah

No matter how rich in tears, tribulations and death was the end of the XIX century, its very last year marked a particularly sinister event, a rough sketch, as it were, of the new realities to be unveiled by the dawning 1900s -- a century which in the eyes of most contemporaries promised common good, justice and plenty for all. If men could only learn the lessons of the Boxer Rebellion in China, wouldn't it be possible that the entire modern history changed its course?

Today, unlike 100 years ago, there is no naive excitement about the future: instead we see mass apathy, despair and horror caused by the abundant fruits of our century. This is hardly a better choice, however: what's needed is a sober and honest assessment of our trouble, both around us and inside ourselves, to get out of it before it is too late. A glimpse into the past helps find our way in the future.