Which way do you fly on the Pandemic?
In 2016 it all began in the run up to the Brexit vote and that fateful day on June 24th of the same year. I had never witnessed such division in my lifetime at this deep emotional level. It caused permanent rifts amongst families and friends alike. Social media became a digital battleground where insults were hurled across a virtual somme. That battle has waged on ceaselessly as we inexorably edge ever closer to the day of reckoning; 31st Dec 2020.
Even in the advent of the much more sinister threat, frighteningly similar to a world war 3; the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit has loitered in the shadows, waiting like a sleeping demon, only ever a “headline” away to drag forth the artillery of division once more.
The election of the new Prime Minister with a huge majority gave the mandate for a swift(er) end to the Brexit battle but little did we know how the ground would shift during the “year of great change”, 2020.
And here we are… 9 months into a Pandemic that has shaken the world. It is unlikely that the world could now ever go back to the way it was… and so things are irrevocably changed.
If we considered that the division amongst people over Brexit was deep, we have now stepped into the proverbial bottomless pit. The Covid-19 Pandemic is changing our world. Not just a relatively small select group like with Brexit; everyone pretty much is being affected by this in some way or another.
I have observed the division first hand, and have been sucked into the drama on more than one occasion, that is the terrifying nature of this Pandemic, it is so easy to get engaged, draw your sword, and start “virtually” scything down your opponents. One blessing I guess is we have been unable to meet up for much of the 9 months (6 months in the UK), lessening the opportunity for causing actual physical harm.
The media has been relentless over the past 7 months. In both the run up to the lockdown in late March 2020, and ever since in a daily bombardment of pandemic news, updates on the Covid-19 virus itself (and our understanding of it), and, the never ending statistics on deaths, infections, positive cases, tests and vaccines. Not only for the UK though, but in Europe, and all the hot spots around the world… not to mention how each country is managing the pandemic, either worse or better than others. Fortunately my television ceased to function after the 2012 digital upgrades, so I personally get off lighter than most… but even I, a veritable “news hermit” cannot escape the pervasive torrent unleashed upon us.
News of lockdowns, hospital admissions, financial support, behavioural guidelines, food shortages, masks, tests, and key workers have filled MSM, and Social media incessantly, which has resulted in a caldron of such toxicity and fear that I feel it has now become quite dangerous.
People are fearful and quite rightly so. Not only for the virus, but for their jobs, their safety, their families and their future. Nothing is certain any more and people aren’t used to that. No one seems to know what is really going on, and there is such a contradiction in the communication, guidance, and new counter measures, that people are falling victim to anxiety, stress, depression and even suicide. Those with serious health conditions prior to March have had less access to care services, and consequently it seems the actual pandemic is now secondary to the consequences of the pandemic, and the “knock-on” effects being experienced in the community.
In all the confusion, the overwhelming volume of data, and the ensuing analysis two very different interpretations of the situation have emerged. Of course there are an infinite number of sub-variations on these two main theories.
Theory 1 - The virus is a major real threat
What is being reported in the MSM is absolutely true, and the government is doing everything in its power to keep us protected, safe, and save lives. This is a serious threat to human life and if we do not carry out social distancing, tough measures on restricted ‘meetings’ between us, wear masks, constantly test and track, and introduce a vaccine at the earliest opportunity (for all) then this virus will potentially wipe out large numbers of us, globally. If you do not comply with the rules then you are selfish (i’ve heard worse name calling) and putting everyone else at risk and you should be dealt with accordingly. You are an enemy of everyone else following the guidelines.
Theory 2 - The virus has been blown out of all proportion and not a big threat at all
MSM and governments have grossly exaggerated the threat of the virus and caused widespread fear unnecessarily. Businesses and lives have been ruined by completely inappropriate draconian measures which will take 5-7 years to recover from (at least, if ever). There is no need for a vaccine where 99% of people recover from the illness with no lasting ill effects and herd immunity is already operating quite successfully. Human rights are being eroded, and new restrictions on our freedoms implemented which are unlikely to ever be conceded again. There is no way we are going to sit back and watch our lives and freedoms be stripped away, nor follow ridiculous conflicting rules that make no sense at all. What is the matter with those people following the rules can they not see how they are being duped?
How can the interpretation of the same information be so very different? These two theories are at the opposite end of the spectrum, and yet there are truths in both of them. Passions are running high on both sides of this issue as there is a lot at stake…
Theory 1 - Life, death, and fear of a rapidly mutating highly contagious virus that if we don’t take extreme measures will wipe out 10’s of millions of people
Theory 2 - This isn’t about a virus at all, it is about control, and the managed collapse of the global economy (which is broken) using the virus as a blameless invisible instrument with which to achieve it.
What can we do as individuals about our feelings?
It doesn’t really matter which side of the fence you sit on this. You can talk to those that agree with you and feel vindicated, or talk to those that don’t and get angered, triggered, and incensed as to what is wrong with them for not “getting it”.
When we take our emotions out of the battle, and withdraw from the drama, we can see this for what it really is. People becoming angry with each other about something they (in the main) are unable to change. Why are we doing that?
Just because someone thinks differently to us, why get angry with them? Our relationship with that person has got nothing to do with the pandemic or virus. But it isn’t easy to let it go is it? We have been practising arguing our points for 4 years with Brexit; slugging it out publicly, now this pandemic, and for much longer as part of our democracy, where party politics by its very nature divides us.
Up above the chessboard we can see it clearly if we dare look… Our ego’s, the desire to be right, to put forward an argument that makes our opponent surrender to our what? superior intelligence? Strength? Knowledge? … to win! To be vindicated. So powerful is this calling of “the ego” that wars have been fought over this for centuries.
And yet once more we’re being divided, following on from a long list of such divisive events. But not just divided. Divided to the point we’re being encouraged to “snitch on our neighbours” for having more than 6 people in their house, and breaking the ill conceived “rule of 6”, which was probably scribbled out on a serviette as a fun afterthought late one evening at 10 Downing Street preceded by a round of cake, liqueurs and extreme laughter!
Whether we admit it or not none of us have enjoyed having our freedoms removed, during the lockdown, or queuing outside supermarkets for food, or wearing masks (it’s better without, unless you are a bandit) or having to be tested (for the virus) in order to travel. These are all impositions we would rather do without.
Each restriction forces us to make different choices. For many the restrictions have destroyed shopping as an experience and consequently switched to buying solely online. Others now would prefer takeaways rather than going out and eating at a restaurant where the experience has been downgraded through new virus regulations. The knock on effect of that though is, less human contact, staying home more, maybe loneliness, undoubtedly less business being done locally?
The bottom line is that we have made adjustments in an effort (wherever possible) to still enjoy the things we like doing. Through compromise in some way we have retained at some level at least, a modicum of happiness. This we have done regardless of whether we are into “theory 1” or “theory 2”. However, the narrative that we tell ourselves is vastly different as we go about these activities.
If we are a “Theory 1” person we would feel good that this imposition we are facing is worth it. We are protecting others, it is for the common good and there is the self satisfaction that we are doing our bit, we’re all in this together and I’m being a good responsible citizen. Happy to be following the rules to save the lives of older or vulnerable members of society.
If we are a “Theory 2” person we would feel that this imposition is taking away our freedoms for something that isn’t even a thing. Compliance is to give in to an idea that we do not even believe in, it’s a false and unnecessary restriction, impeding my lifestyle, causing me to change, when the whole thing is a load of baloney. Very few people are at risk, the whole thing has been hyped up out of all proportion and we are not being told the real reason for it. Angry about these silly rules, and the fact they are based on protecting people (which they don’t anyway) from a virus that is nowadays killing less people than the regular flu and worse still the, increased suicides… quite frankly what on earth has this come to!
Much of what is happening in the world we have no direct influence over, whichever way our thinking leans, and this pandemic is no different. So what is the actual real problem? Our friend who thinks differently to us? No, I don’t think so...
The real challenge is to decide how we are going to respond to the circumstances that we are presented with. We can argue till we are “blue in the face” how unfair life is and how the government is messing it all up, but that is just describing the problem, not dealing with it. Each time we describe it we not only annoy ourselves about how bad it is, but additionally, either, infect others with that misery, or incite an argument with another who sees it differently.
As Gandalf said in Lord of the Rings. Many would wish they weren’t born at this time, but we have been! All we have to do is decide how to use the time that is allotted to us.
There is also no right or wrong response. Some will choose theory 1, some theory 2, others will create their own theories… yet others still will March, Protest, Campaign and Rebel, there is something for everyone for sure.
But whichever we choose the main protagonist is not the virus nor the pandemic nor ironically a government doing whatever... it is, CHANGE.
The old model of running the world is broken. For example we cannot have sustainability, if we want continual growth. Both of these do not come in the same box. Sustainability is needed if we are to live in harmony with the planet we call home. So continual growth is probably out then.
We need continual growth to manage the debt bubble we have created. Continual growth is no longer an option, because the energy to do that at the right price is not available and other resources (human) at the right price are disappearing fast too.
If the debt bubble cannot be maintained then… the global financial model needs to be reworked and $trillions of debt / money written off, vapourised. Possibly this is what all of this is about. Control and a managed contraction of the global economy.
Rather than getting anxious about the pandemic and the virus maybe we might consider that they could be nothing more than a “means to an end”. If this were true… then what we are experiencing today is just the tip of the iceberg. That isn’t doom and gloom by the way, it‘s just recognition that we perhaps need to change how we see the situation, there is hope and light when we are aware, and being creative.
Maybe it is pointless to argue who believes what, maybe a better question is to ask “how can I continue to enjoy my life and navigate my way around these restrictions and the very many challenges we have approaching in the coming years” … that’s likely to require finding alternatives to what we do now, being adaptable, agile and flexible.
One thing is for sure the future holds no certainties and those able to adapt after each step forward are likely to do well. Living in the now, with the readiness to bend with the wind and ride through change may well be the order of the day, and the education to do this is being delivered to us right now.
Without even knowing it the government is providing us with all the instructions we need to build our adaptability for an uncertain future. What we are experiencing right now has all the following characteristics
1. Making things less comfortable
I think everyone of us is experiencing this at the moment. We grow when things are uncomfortable, this is what fires up our passion for what is important to us
2. Changing the business map
Businesses are going to fail during this time. This is going to be difficult but also an opportunity for change. Local business, providing much needed services in the community will begin to emerge, as larger companies begin to falter this will accelerate. Local crafts people will begin to spring up too, round the corner and quality products.
3. Less money - other ways - repair, reuse, recycle
With the furlough scheme coming to an end, probable job losses, and the reduction in demand, there is likely to be less money around. With less money, less spending, with less spending, less retail. This is a form of downward spiral until it bottoms out. Watch out for repair, reuse and recycle services, and only when these are exhausted do we buy new.
4. Look after each other, support, community
As the availability of money contracts so we reignite the importance of relationships, connection and supporting each other. Community becomes way more important as well as the part we play and the contribution we make. This I think can already be felt around the country as people have begun to look out for each other. Compassion, kindness, and caring, all on the rise, which is a good thing.
5. Do more things locally, less travel
Restrictions on travel have already affected millions of people. Holidays abroad devastated. Now we see more travel in the UK, people finding other ways to entertain themselves such as learning a new skill.
6. Making us use our brains and Innovate new ways of doing things
As new guidelines and restrictions impede our comfortable way of life we are now finding alternative ways to do things. This makes us awaken our creativity, think outside of the box, and look at things differently, when before there was no need.
This re-stimulation of our innovation and creativity can ignite our belief systems into what is possible, and who knows where that might end.
7. Co-create new solutions together that work better for the majority - self determination
As we work within the new parameters (restrictions) of how we can meet and connect, coupled with our newly found creativity, we can find inspiration from the synergy of being with others.
Alongside whatever form of governance is running at the time, we have the local building blocks of co-creating a new kind of future that works for the many.
What is happening right now is no accident, I don’t believe that. There can be no “evil” without “good” riding shotgun alongside with it. All we have to do is see the hope (light) where perhaps it looks very bleak to many.
The future is ours to make, I truly believe this. Before us is the greatest opportunity and all we have to do is grab it with both hands. Every single person is able to play their part and participate at whatever stage they are at, from a full blown corporate executive all the way across to a spiritual healer.
A new co-created future includes all of us, there is no opt-out if you are still breathing. We definitely needed a catalyst to kick things off… I believe we have just received that catalyst… shall we?