Surviving the Covid-19 Lockdown

I was preparing what I would contribute to our online meeting this evening. It springs from what I have been thinking about and what has pretty much got me down recently. I see how people around me are stepping forward to help out and be united in surviving Covid-19, and I see how politicians are willing to let people die in the advance of their agendas.

Our weekly meetings were supposed to be about “surviving the pandemic and exploiting its opportunities.” I thought it would help people feel more connected and positive by sharing successes and spotlighting hope. Perhaps more control over what people say… Perhaps a tighter seminar format… Yet venting is important too, but it seems to descend into recrimination and emotional stagnation.

Now I wonder if that isn’t just us being who we are. Maybe we are masters of our own doom; we just have no good map for choosing which paths to take. Perhaps all we can do is take it one step at a time and continue to move forward and accept what comes and move on.

My contribution for this evening

Getting through:

Do: Yard work, bike rides and reading…and Prime Video

Avoid: Lakes and parkways, Millennials with little kids on bikes on the sidewalks, the news

Getting on:

We speak of coming out of this better in some way. In that statement are two assumptions that contradict history.

First is the assumption that we will come through the medical and financial crises and be free of any remnant of it. No. We carry our history with us forever; we will be forever affected by it. There is no getting over it. It would be like saying we have passed through the shift to agrarianism or the Industrial Revolution, and are no longer carrying the affects with us. This pandemic is miniscule by comparison, but it will be with us always.

Second is the assumption that humans will be changed by this. The only thing that changes about us is the scale and scope of our actions. We’re using Zoom which has boomed from the situation and increased our capacity to interconnect, and it has made us more easily and more often the victims of invasive and malicious behaviors. The Great Plague of the 14th century did bring an end to the Hundred Years War. 600 hundred years later, the French and Germans were back at it, again. During that plague, a business arose in body disposal. The carriers of the dead were paid per corpse, some of which were only near death. Those carriers would leave articles of clothing along the streets to promote further infection. What changes is how we exploit situations: for good or bad. And Good and Bad are entirely subjective. We only believe they are absolutes.

As humans we have always been vessels of great promise and disgusting wretchedness. That isn’t going to change and there’s plenty of evidence of that out there now. Get set for new ways to do what we have been doing for at least the last 5 millennia. It is the tension between our extremes that defines us. It is the conflict the drives the plot of our story. And where each of us comes down on that conflict defines our character.

About Jay C Ritterson
If I say nothing, it might be that I have nothing to say.

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