I would like to share my latest feelings around the wider global picture. These are the most significant times I have come across in my life so please bear with me if I write more than usual.
I notice that we have committed to the lock-down as part of a common goal to defeat this shared enemy, but now we are drifting back out into some partial version of our old lives, while still holding onto many of the limitations. Where is our VE or VJ day? Where is our moment to dance around the streets in celebration of battle won? We need this as a species, we are used to challenge but also to know when it is over, to mark the transition in some overt way. The absence of this is unsettling to our limbic brains and I feel and see a deep sense of loss about all the freedoms we no longer have along with fear about what the future might hold. There is a collective grievance about the nature of the world we now live in.
Any sense of confusion, fear or grievance must be honoured, but it is important to hold the vision of the opportunity that comes out of these times. We are at a watershed moment in our history when we can either continue to repeat the pattens of our past or choose to respond differently, with love, compassion, and a true sense of community and social justice.
If you have seen the film 'sliding doors,' you will remember that there was a point in time when the future diverged into two very different paths. We are at that point now. This is how I see the two paths, the first being the shadow path where we carry on as before with existing structural powers continuing to eat away at our personal liberties. The second path is one of love, compassion and equality:
Path 1 – Carry on as before…..
If we look at history for guidance, along with the dictatorships around the world today, there are several warning signs that signal the beginning of loss of personal liberty and true democracy in favor of greater state control. For me, I see a process unfolding that will work through 13 courses unless we intervene. These courses are:
Stage 1 – The problem
- The creation of a common enemy. For now, this is the virus itself, but it could soon become a more identifiable subset of our community, perhaps the late night ravers, the 'anti-vaxers', the protestors, the conspiracy theorists, Black, Indigenous, People Of Colour, or those living in poverty.
- 'Were all in it together' broadcast whereas in fact gross injustice exists in society and racism and poverty mean that many groups of people are affected worse than others.
- The loss of free speech. Superficially, freedom of speech is maintained, but government sponsored media follow the party line and major dissenting comments are removed from public forums and social media. No other alternatives are presented. Dissenters are villified as risking the health of the vulnerable and a general level of public support is attained through the lack of alternatives being presented.
- Restriction of movement,
- Restriction of public gathering and the right to protest
- Monitoring of movement through tracing technology and logs taken by establishments we visit
- Marshalls on the street to enforce these rules
- Public asked to report neighbors who break the rules
Stage 2 – The solution
- State led solution proposed – by isolation, testing, tracking, vaccines, drugs etc.
- Legislation adopted to sanction this solution with exemption of liability for anyone applying it
- Sanctions – Restrictions and punishment on those who do not follow the proposals. Potential for mandatory implementation of drugs or vaccines deemed safe and effective.
- Acceptable levels of collateral loss agreed. Some may be harmed or killed by the solution, but it's deemed acceptable against the perceived benefits. This is the same belief system that accepts the sacrifice of lives in wartime for the 'greater good'.
Stage 3 – Setting a template for the future.
- Widening the brief – the final move is the cementing of these restrictions and solutions into law so they are available for any future situation that could be deemed a similar threat, whether through disease, environmental issues or terrorism.
This process is not fantastical, it is deeply embedded in our history and our present world. It is happening right now.
For example, there is proposed legislation in the UK out for public consultation planning to give the state increasing powers to market any solution, especially a vaccine, that it proposes, and for any party involved in that process to be free of all liability for its consequences. If you have read anything about the vaccine in development, you will know that a coronavirus vaccine has been the Holy Grail of scientists for many years and nothing that is both safe and effective has been found. A rushed development of a vaccine for Covid-19 could present risks to us all that we have never seen before. It is bound to be a gamble with our nation's health. Whether that risk is worthwhile or not is up to you to decide. Either way, public consultation in the UK finishes this Friday 18th September, so please do respond using the link below. Whatever your opinion, we must all exercise our democratic right and express it or the government will feel able to sneak this through into legislation claiming that there was little public interest or opposition. Here is the link:
Path 2 – Love, Compassion and Equality
We cannot integrate a new level of consciousness while the old looters of privilege and inequality remain in place; the old has to be replaced, not built upon or upgraded in some way. I am optimistic that our collective consciousness is expanding all the time into greater levels of compassion and love. There is a long way to go, but I hope and pray that we will emerge out of this crisis with the determination to create a new society based on an intrinsic value of community and the planet, where equality, fairness and individual freedom of choice are cornerstones of our world. If that is to happen, we must honor our core values and take action where they are breached. We must hold a clear vision of the world we desire, write it down if that helps, and then every day ask ourselves two questions:
- What is happening that goes against my core values and what can I do about it?
- What can I do today to live aligned with what I do desire?
Although I have suggested that this is a time to watch closely and not jump in too quick with new structures, there are certain events happening now that must be put. Are you doing your anti-racism work? Are you critically analyzing Government legislation that restricts your freedom of choice? Are you supporting environmental causes and changing your clothes to minimize your footprint? Are you supporting the disadvantaged?
We all need to know where our lines in the sand are and take action when they are crossed. Our collective choice now is to step up to the challenges of this moment in history and create what we dream of, or sleep walk into somebody else's nightmare.