A unique moment in time……fear, loathing and…. maybe empathy

Ever felt vulnerable, subjugated, unable to act, anxious almost all the time? Now ask yourself how does that feel? All of a sudden you are spat into a game of life you have little or no choice in.  In one blinding flash, you have ceased to have options, personal preferences, to do as you like and to determine your own existence. Like a patient in a hospital bed putting all your trust in people you don’t know at all. Scary isn’t it? As the tedium sets in under lockdown that would seem to have no endpoint, we might pause in our apparent helplessness to spare a thought for others less fortunate than ourselves….

This minor shift in time and space may allow us time to reflect on what I would call our ‘devolution.’

This is not to say that we may be charted on a course that is essentially out of our control, but also to emphasize that we may now use this time to take stock of where we are in this construct, both physically and psychologically. Are we asking enough questions? Have we taken a proper look at the real elephant in the room? Climate change may be contributing to things like viral pandemics, but also we need to make the naysayers and cynical, avaristic advocates for money and power (not health and humanity), more accountable and indeed use our influence to silence these idiots. And, as Einstein once said ‘Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the latter.’ This may be a moment of singularity in time that will allow the global populace to re-group around the real issues in our world not the fake and perceived ones. The clarity afforded us at this moment should not be wasted. Instead it must allow people to focus, empathise and ultimately, act.

Einstein once said ‘Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the latter.’

We have immediate environmental concerns and other, more localised humanitarian issues at hand in this partially stalled world of ours. Like a playlist on pause, now is the time, in our self imposed mode of isolation, to look, ruminate and begin to empathise with the dispossessed, enslaved and others who are marginalized because of the colour of their skin, religious beliefs or the fact that they are part of the human quotient that are seen (or not seen) as people that can be exploited because of economic and social hardship. This marginalized faction of our global family are the ones who suffer economic slavery to allow production of the latest top worn by some minor asshole celebrity on their social media site so that the clothing is affordable to the general public, someone has to take a cut and you can be sure it won’t be the celebrity or the manufacturer. So maybe now is the time to look at our participation in consumer driven slavery and economic coercion in order that we can buy our next pair of shoes at a ‘competitive’ price. We all know this is going on, and at an accelerated and detrimental cost to peoples lives and to our global environment.

Hard work by the saltworkers on Lake Asale  Ethiopia

It’s a sea change. A catastrophe if you choose to see it in that light. Resources and access to places previously taken for granted are now inaccessible. No more heading to the pub on a Friday evening to catch up with your friends, or taking your significant other out for a meal in the local restaurant. Even the gym is out of bounds when you decide to burn a few calories on evenings during the week or even at the weekends. A visit to a friend’s house or the house of another family member is off the menu. Instead its indoors all day except for a possible walk limited by an inclusion zone of 2K. Other permissible diversions include sporadic food and staples purchases at the stores which should be confined to as few as possible, whilst continuing ‘social separation’ protocol. Something that was inconceivable just 3 weeks ago. 

Bangladesh Garment Unions Say New Factory Oversight Deal Risks Worker Safety

Now is the time to seize the day, and own it. The zeitgeist is revealing what we really need and also shining a light on all the flotsam and jetsam that clog our daily existence. Also, it may be time to transcend those thinly disguised, ego obsessed parts of social media that only plays to our narcissistic needs and little else. Instead there may be a chance to think of others and how they live. Sometimes in intolerable conditions with very little. We may use this space therefore to concentrate on the reality of existence and how much we have. We can use this examination to turn our thoughts and deeds to lending a hand and actually making a difference to those not as fortunate as ourselves.

Immigrant farmworkers have long been essential to the United States. But they have never been recognized, respected or properly rewarded for their labour.

Another interesting outcome from all of this will be how people will deal with the economic backlash from the pandemic. We need to look to our countries and governments to do the right thing. Specifically, this will be the greatest test the EU has ever faced. If the Union does not stand up and offer financial aid to everyone affected by this lockdown, then it will have failed its greatest trial and quite possibly have signed its own warrant for deconstruction and eventual obscurity.