While the Plague continues to ravage their world, The Savages impatience is growing exponentially.
After three weeks of isolation it can be observed that panic, anxiety, anger and a morbid silence provoked by the worrisome disease is taking over the communities. The streets are empty. Entire metropolitan areas that used to beam with tumultuous life have become now dramatic lifeless scenes.
People are no longer keeping up with the enthusiasm. They can’t. The incertitude of life is unbearable.
The Savages had in their mind all scheduled. Before this, it was all clear, lives were lived with fervour in one direction clearly defined. What now? What humans are supposed to do now? There is another set of rules. And facing their own demons is no easy thing. No, this thing has to stop.
Not ever The Savages have been aware of the raw loneliness of their lives. Faced with the truth some of them cannot hide the despair. And desperation is ugly.
Now, more than ever: “All the anxiety we bear with us, all our thwarted dreams, the incomprehensible cruelty, our fear of extinction, the painful insight into our earthly condition, have slowly eroded our hope of an other-wordly salvation. The howl of our faith and doubt against the darkness and silence, is one of the most awful proofs of our abandonment and our terrified, unuttered knowledge.” Do you think it’s like that? Persona
So here we are. Third week of isolation, social- distancing, teleworking, the world going upside down, high emotions, sugar induced coma’s, motivational videos, Netflix binging, COVID 19 full news coverage watching, alcohol indulging, disinfectant and toilet paper hoarding, the best memes since the invention of memes and the list can go on.
After passing the shock of the first week, reactions to the new (temporary) lifestyle vary from one social class to another (you might not acknowledge, yet social classes exists and are as unfair as always have been). I mean, sure, the rich Europeans went to their vacation houses to relief the pain of the confinement, the pharma industry skyrocketed their sales of masks and disinfectant – the more affordable coping mechanism for the middle class, and then, for the blue collars that continue working in “low skilled jobs” life goes on, as they cannot afford any time to reflect upon the effects of the deadly virus. Furthermore, by far the less than advantaged class – the war refugees – seem to have no way of avoiding the pandemic.
So, as a privileged individual, having a home to isolate, and food and all that nonsense, and has time to reflect upon life’s drama, i felt the need to go with the wave of overachievers. “Let’s use the time wisely!”, “I should enrol in all the online courses, because now(!) it’s the time i will never have!”, “I want to work on all the projects and i should stay on top of everything, i feel so grateful for this time of social distancing!” etc etc. So last week i thought i can do all. And then, some more.
I am not saying it is not doable. I am just saying maybe it is ok NOT to. Again, there is another type pf pressure that comes with the confinement. “Let’s work on this project and if i am not doing it now, i will feel so bad, as i will have lost the time”, and then “everyone else is so creative these days! i NEED to do something”, “i should also follow the yoga classes online – because there is no excuse now”. Just give yourself a break! I am not a project to manage. There is a time for grief and acknowledge that since two weeks ago, when we we’re free to travel, move, gather with friends, see open air concerts we switched to a world that is closed (not only in one sense) mostly in the literal way, and is impacting on all of us as “humans of late capitalism”. We are allowed to mourn our life from before, we are allowed to be sad, we are allowed to worry due to uncertainty of the world we are experiencing currently. It is important to acknowledge the shift from our former reality to a new one, in a span of days, and properly reflect and understand that the virus will be here, in our dystopian nightmare, for a while and we have to deal with it.
It is a collective existential transformation and we cannot deny it with self- improvement online classes, motivational speakers, meditation and yoga, sage and crystals or whatnot.While all that can be helpful, allow some time to grasp the new world.
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” Aristotle
One of the first lessons I learned as a philosophy student it was about the human condition and the innately characteristic of humans to exist around each other. In other words, people need other people to co-exist, in order to be fulfilled and have a sense of cohesion or purpose.
Back then I had no idea what this means. It was a completely new concept and I was not even close or had the capacity to comprehend, by far, how an individual could live outside of society.
Anyway, I don’t have the arrogance to think that I know now but since I experience “unprecedented times” – as they say in all the serious articles – I have enough time to reflect upon this theory.
The days are passing slowly and the “social isolation” becomes a brutal reality. I realise that humans are very creative at coming together. If you are anything like me (and you cannot stay away from news and social media) you probably saw all those videos where (Italians) start singing in their balconies and create beautiful, empowering social gatherings in unique ways, or simply, people are risking their lives (and some others more) by overruling the obvious (imposed) new ways of interacting by the authorities – only to be around each other. The simple fact of not meeting a friend is incomprehensible at this point for many of us, yet, some cannot even conceive the idea of staying far from the others, even tough as a temporary measure. Not one single type/tool of new technology can replace the human interaction.
I used to think about myself as a rather antisocial, introvert personality (I still do), yet, these rules are weighing heavy on my mental state (and physical for that matter) since only the idea that I am not allowed to go to a movie, a concert or any other type of collective gathering with humans that you feel connected through a common nominator, is simply not conceivable and it gives me some terrible anxiety.
We all understand this is temporary (or is it?), we try to stay positive and get the best out of a situation that hit us so fast and so hard that we choose to ignore. Yet, instead of ignoring, the best is to acknowledge and try to come to terms with the fact that staying far one from the other it is ultimately something that is bringing us together.
I think it’s the 8th or 9th day of isolation. Today was particularly hard. Emotions hit you when you least expect and today was one of those days.
I am mostly numb, and I move automatically from one room to another, also my brain starts having some break from it all.
What day is it? Oh yes, it’s Sunday. It’s March and still the year 2020. I hoped it was all just a dream. Turns out that is not.
So, this is how people in jail must feel. How they can do that for years?
What shall I do today?
I went out in the park nearby for a walk. The police were giving instructions through their loudspeaker to keep distance from one another. At least 1.5 meters. It was not necessary- people respect the rules here. The rules are made to be respected. And it’s for the first time i am grateful for that. I feel like crying. So, I just cry. The sun is shining tough.
I make a mental list with all the things I want to do when this is over. I want to do a lot of things still. I want to take the Trans-Siberian in Russia and go all the way to Vladivostok. Maybe from there I’ll go to Japan by sea. Yes, this is a good plan.
Why I don’t have a dog? This year I’ll get a dog.
Also, this year I will have a course to become a nurse. This should be doable. Nurses help people. I want just that. Yes, I add it on my list.
I talk with two friends on the phone. They are optimistic and this does me good. This should last for an hour or so.
I pass by the supermarket to buy bananas and Cola, because Cola now is my new addiction. I waited in the line out until the shop cleared from the two people inside so another two could get in. They must have replenished their stocks, today all the shelves we’re full.
I arrived home and fell asleep a few hours on the couch. How much time has passed again? I don’t know, is this real? I check news just to make sure.
Turns out is not just a nightmare but it is all true.
As a new reality is coming upon us, everyday waking up into a world of uncertainty and isolation, most people are confined in their homes with the loved ones, facing different challenges from their usual existence, my thoughts are shifting towards the ones that are, actually, facing the isolation alone and how they cope at individual level.
Many of you, my friends, might feel the confinement more acutely and, i trust that, even with all the communication devices and tools at our disposal, we can still feel that human interaction is an essential element, for us to feel connected and keep our mental health within “normal parameters”.
Since this one is not as easy exercise, i came up with a few tips to help us all, in the moments we feel overwhelmed and negative emotions are taking over:
What helps most, i believe, is to keep a healthy routine. Wake up, take your shower, breakfast, coffee – do exactly what you used to do when you we’re supposed to go to the office. Change your sleeping outfit with your casual home outfit(put that dress, suit whatever makes you happy), don’t sleep in too long, keep your morning routine, get active, up and going.
Separate your work space from your sleeping/resting space. Is important to keep the working space in a different room than the one that usually serves as a resting space/watch TV space/ reading space. Why? Because making this distinction, will give you a clear boundary and help you get more disciplined with your working hours, breaks and you will shift your mode from work mode to relax mode.
Avoid checking the news every time your devices bleep with yet, another new important development of the situation. Checking the media outlets and reading all the information out there is triggering our anxiety and it doesn’t help in this situation. Yes, check the news once or twice a day, if you must, however, try to keep up with reliable media platforms by having accurate information, no need to go into apocalyptic scenarios or world conspirators incoming from the Freemasonry.
Keep a daily diary with friends and/or family by any communication mean you see feasible. This will help you feel sane and more in tune with your closed ones and will give a new healthy routine to look forward. We all have that one friend or family member that will make the situation look lees dire with their clown approach, and surely, that’s exactly what we need right now.
Take an online yoga/Pilates/dance – you can find these days a lot of the studios moved their sessions online, keep yourself moving, take some trips around your flat, go up and down the stairs of your building and if you can, take a walk around your block just to clear your head. Sports helps always and if you are not a fan, now is the time to start changing your habits. Who knows, you might even get to enjoy it by the end of this adventure.
Eating. Oh, eating. This one can be tricky. If in a usual day at the office you had a clear schedule and overview of your lunch and snacks, being at home might feel like it’s easier to indulge into that cracker or chocolate or whatever raise your serotonin levels on short term. Try to be reasonable. Don’t stock up junk in your pantry – you will simply eat it while binge on that new series on Netflix. As i mentioned earlier, it’s easier if you keep the same routine for your lunch – if cooked at home, the better. You can even become a master chef at the end of this madness.
Binge watching TV or Netflix or Amazon or whatever else is there. I know it’s easy to fall into that. Is just brain numbing and it’s comfortable and you don’s have to process to much while you are just displaying your favourite series, is just there to make you feel better. Yet, i dare say, it is also a slippery slope. Too much is too much as with everything else. Have a break – watch an hour or two a day, if that makes you feel better but if you just end up beyond midnight in front of that screen know that is going to make you feel terrible the next day. The same effect as with the junk food. So, why not, finish that book that awaits for you since a few months? Or start that drawing class online? or quantum physics, if you like. It will work your mind and by the end, you will have a nice drawing. 🙂
If, at the end of the day, nothing of that works – feel free to give me a sign. I will definitely try to help in any way i can, and i propose a FB watch party of kittens/dogs/elephants or dolphins taking over the world.
I am positive that after having experiencing this, we will all come out on the other side, better,stronger, more emphatic one to another, will understand smaller things makes us happier and being among humans enriches us and gives us purpose, we will reassess our priorities and life choices.
Be safe, stay safe, don’t go out and wash your hands.
As the self imposed quarantine continues, the Natural Born humans discover new ways of living. Since in the “imperfect world” there is no imposed order, the Savages must show resilience, self control, compassion, empathy, altruism and other characteristics that are not in their habits.
Some governments show surprisingly good management of the pandemic and, even more surprising, their Savages respect the new imposed rules. In contrast, others are incapable to act, and communities panic starting to display erratic behaviours putting in danger the more frail and vulnerable of their own.
On individual level, more and more Savages begin to realise the threat is real and fear takes over showing creative mechanisms helping them to cope with the new world dynamics.
Almost all “natural born” choose mockery and dark humour as coping mechanism, others stock on food and household items, others buy books, others have anxiety and panic attacks, some start working out like there is no tomorrow, the elderly take a dignified attitude by saying that death it’s only a matter of time.
No one is immune to the virus and time is moving slowly taking over the “imperfect world” into a passible agony of waiting for the cure. Until then, only the fittest Savages and the one with strongest self control will survive.
I wake up, yet again, on the 4th day of what looks like a scene from Huxley’s Brave New World. The year is 2020, 16th of March.
I am not within the confined State World, where engineered bred humans are soothed by SOMA, the rules are clear, the pain or depression doesn’t exist and each individual is pre determined into a specific caste.
I am with the natural- born, the Savages, outside the perfect world, where humans are facing illnesses, the ageing process and struggle with the challenges of living in a free, imperfect world.
The Savages encounter yet a new challenge: a pandemic disease that threatens with death, mostly the elderly in their society. Will the imperfect world be saved? In order to contain the virus, the Savages should be disciplined and isolate themselves in their own space to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep it away from their fragile members of the community.
Will the natural-born be brave enough to prevent their in-habitat from destruction?
To be continued.
Be safe, stay safe, stay home. ~• And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.•