The longer this goes on for the more I find myself wondering what it is all about.
Like really about.
Not in a ‘who’s done it, who’s working behind the scenes and why’ kinda way.
For me the mystery is more what kind of deeply human dynamics are at play here?
And how can it be that we are now closing in on a 2 year mark of being bombarded with fear and confusion, and we seem to collectively struggle to resist this?
We seem so stuck… We seem unable to collectively find different ways, new ways of dealing with the Covid phenomenon – other ways than turning to authority for rules and accepting being told off and bullied.
Other than passively witnessing groups of our fellow citizens being scapegoated and shamed, shrug and maybe feel relief it’s not us and get a pang of pain that we feel unable to do anything about it.
Other than debating with each other about wrong and right.
Other than gravitating towards people we agree with and create echo chambers of reassurance and indignance.
Other than internalising this shaming and seeking out our own enemy-images, to define our tribes by who we are not like and protect ourselves against them…
Those scroungers who are taking advantage of the grant schemes and taking more than their fair share.
Those authoritarian middle-class lefties who want more restrictions and don’t care about the working class.
Those fanatical far right wing hooligans who take advantage of any situation to cause disruption.
Those ignorant young people who are seem more upset about not getting to travel and party than vulnerable people dying.
Those mad anti-vaxers who are flooding the online and offline public spaces with fear of the only thing that will save us all.
Those stupid conspiracy theorists who spread misinformation.
Those selfish refuseniks who won’t follow the rules and are putting us all in danger and dragging this nightmare out.
Those annoying plebs who talk as if they are experts on things they don’t understand.
Those arrogant elites who make decisions that only benefit themselves.
Those sheep who follow the science without question and who thinks debate is a nuisance.
Those hypocrites who wear a mask in the streets and shopping and then stand crammed in a pub shouting at each other over the loud music.
How is it that this has come over us so quickly and so forcefully?
It was always there I guess and now it is being amplified and it is metastasising at what feels like unmanageable speed.
I feel the fear. It is so dense and sticky now it doesn’t come in waves anymore rather it glides slowly, like a thick black treacle into my consciousness, into my body, into my being and I despair. This fear has become harder and harder to live with. It is a heaviness now, a suffocating of thoughts, feelings, senses, of what is alive with in me and around me.
It is not just my fear. It is a fear pouring out from invisible dimensions, from other people, from the spaces between us.
I don’t believe in evil. But I do believe in fear.
And I believe fear is powerful.
I believe that when we fight and suppress what we fear, it only becomes more foreign to us. More unknown. And the deeper the chasm between us and the things we fear the greater power it has over us.
We need to get to know our fears. We need to spend time with them. We need to not identify deeply with them or let them pull at us from the darkness of our subconsciousness or let them run riot as we detach ourselves from them. We need to own them and honour them, hold them in the light and learn from them.
Fear of suffering and of death has great power over the human mind especially if we supress it and fight it.
If we believe we are entitled to be free of suffering, we lose touch with reality of our personal and collective suffering.
If we believe we are above nature and above life itself – because we are buying into stories about human ingenuity, progress and a utopia of happy ever afters for everyone – we lose touch with our vulnerability and with our insignificance.
When we are out of touch with our suffering, vulnerability and insignificance we just become more and more scared of it and work harder and harder to avoid it and get angry with anything that forces us to face the reality of these things.
Our fear of causing death and suffering has great power over us too. We all cause suffering. Probably everyday without being fully aware of it. We hurt our fellow humans and ourselves with our rushing, with our suspicion and our judgements. We do not tread lightly on this earth and we leave our marks. Even deeds done with the best of intentions ripple outwards and have unforeseen consequences, maybe in another place and another time…
I think we are subconsciously aware of this and we work hard to avoid the reality of the hurt we are causing. We try to be good, we try to control ourselves, restrict ourselves, confess and repent.
We seem caught in being everything – entitled and all powerful – and in being nothing – useless and insignificant.
We fluctuate between a submitting and a conquering mentality. Like we are constantly playing out the victim – perpetrator – saviour dynamics. Like we can’t step out of this story.
We seem caught in war-faring with everything…
How can we respond differently to ourselves and each other? To our bodies, to our human fragility, to our interdependence and to our fears?
How can we think differently about what is happening so that we can untangle ourselves and each other from the web of hurt, fear and confusion?
What are the skills and values that we need to do things differently?
How can we step out of the story of evil and enemies and into a new story?
And what will that story be?
(image from star trek, skin of evil)