I read something earlier this morning about how the author of the article was expecting “global catastrophe” or the “apocalypse” (I may joke about it, but I’m not there yet) to be more along the lines of The Matrix, or something by George Romero. Instead, we got something out of Douglas Adams.
While we’re not on the verge of being demolished for a hyperspace bypass, there is a certain level of absurdity and hubris and ineptitude that has us in the position we’re all in. I am by no means discounting the beyond heroic efforts of those on the front lines, nor trying to downplay everyone’s recent losses (including my own). But there is a lingering sense of humility that this is starting to bring forward. It didn’t have to be like this. But we were too busy feeling invincible.
Perhaps I can illustrate it another way.
An instructor I had in grad school once told us of a time where he had been camping, and after a bit of searching, he found the Perfect Rock upon which to sit and meditate. He got comfortable, started to slow his breathing, and noticed an ant coming right at him, crawling up the rock towards him.
“Hey,” he thought. “This is MY rock.”
And he tried shooing the ant away. The ant kept coming towards him. No matter his efforts to divert it. This went on for quite a bit, delaying his meditation.
Suddenly, he had a realization that maybe he was a bit full of himself. Maybe his ego was so huge that he needed something as small and seemingly insignificant as an ant to put him in his place. It wasn’t his rock. It wasn’t the ant’s rock. It was just a rock, and two different souls met there. The only difference was that the ant probably didn’t really care that he was on it. But Mr. Spiritually Evolved realized he wasn’t that spiritually evolved at all.
And our hubris. Our certainty – to the point of severely under funding and crippling vital infrastructure – that we (as a species) are indestructible and that those who fall victim to circumstance might have somehow deserved it (unlike ourselves) is now being smacked in the face. This virus doesn’t care if you’re the Prime Minister of a country (while I’m not overly fond of Boris Johnson, I don’t wish this on him or anyone), or the person next door. The virus doesn’t care if you belong to Extinction Rebellion, and/or if you blame humanity for all of the problems in the world. The virus is virusing.
I fully admit that my line of work, to continue the Douglas Adams metaphor, would probably put me irrevocably on the Golgafrincham B Ark. Right now, though, if it’s helping to bring people comfort while this is all going on, I’m okay with that.
In terms of immediate and personal survival, if the ant wants to use our rock, I’m more than happy to move myself and my family to a different rock. We’ve been through far too much in the last 8 and a half years to have it end with this.
This really fucking sucks.
And it’s going to keep sucking for a while.
The question is, do you want to argue with an ant, or just get out of its way?