There are pivotal moments in human history when we need to take a step back; to take a seriously deep breath and press the pause button. And in that precious space, reconnect to our moral compass and reassess where we are heading.
It’s almost a year since the whole world collectively went into lockdown in reaction to a new virus. Locking down people and countries was experimental at best and destructive at worst. We are reaping the consequences of that experiment now, both economically and socially. We could simply have protected the old and the vulnerable. There was another way.
A year in, it is surely time to take a pause and reset our compass, both individually and collectively, to avoid entering a dark place where we literally sell our souls. One year on, have we not reached this pivotal point of reflection? For many people we have gone far beyond it, but it’s still within our grasp to avoid the darkness, we can still change the direction of travel.
A post I read on Twitter this week, written by a man called Scotty, inspired me to think about how we might look back on these times. A question we might do well to ask of ourselves is how far have we strayed from our own ethical values and personal truths? How much are we simply going along with it all unquestioningly? Without taking a breath and a much-needed pause, the continued direction of travel is worrying. How will we look back at these times? Right now, we are not free in our own country. We can’t even leave it. Yet, the majority stay silent. However, silence is not without consequence or personal responsibility. Not to speak is to speak and not to act is to act.
It’s important for me that I can look at myself in the mirror and be ok with the person I see looking back. I have stood in my truth throughout this Covid time and have said to my student aged son that in the future, when all this is over, I will be able to answer my grandchildren truthfully when they ask me “grandma how did you let this happen?” I resisted all the way, I will answer, I held my truth and spoke out against the wrongdoing.
The post that grabbed me on Twitter feels like a pause. A man who has taken the time to breathe and reflect and I wanted to publish some of his words as inspiration for others to also take a pause and reconsider if you are staying true to your inner guidance. Can you look yourself in the mirror and be proud of how you have acted in this last year?
When the dust finally settles on this era of Covid-induced hysteria, the voices of the world’s media, politics and popular culture will most likely seek to spin this significant chapter in our lives as having been an inspirational tale of human resilience and unity.
They will say that despite being locked within the jaws of a deadly pandemic, millions of acts of sacrifice and charity ensured that society was able to adapt to every challenge put before it, and we will emerge as a stronger, better people having endured such suffering.
Except, that won’t be true because the enormous bulk of this suffering hasn’t come from the trail of death Covid-19 has left behind; no, it has come directly from the political decisions made in reaction to it. Draconian rulings inflicted on the citizenry by seemingly caring politicians and their covid-fixated advisors. From the comfort of their satisfying salaries and life-long pensions, making decisions which throw the bulk of the working population onto furlough or benefits. We have become but cannon fodder to be expended in the hubristic war on covid.
A virus with a high survival rate has not been the cause of millions of people losing their jobs in pubs, theatres, or airlines. This virus has not been the cause of family businesses closing and livelihoods destroyed. Government policies have. Crippling restrictions which have inflicted maximum damage on these businesses have been the cause.
When we look back from a time in the future, we will see that assisting the government in their hubristic policies has been the mainstream media who have been the architects of hysteria and fear. They blame covid for the economic and social fallout we are facing, rather than blame the politicians and themselves who enabled it. The pandemic has not largely brought out the best in humanity, despite the media focus on doorstep clapping and brightly coloured rainbows whilst ignoring the old being forced to die alone in nursing homes. This time has brought out the worst in humanity, it has been an exceptionally cruel period of human history, and whereas it lacks the sickening, unique violence of the 1940s, a callous disregard for life persists.
Society cannot claim in future to have been pleased with its collective dealings of covid when thousands of vulnerable people were in effect euthanised by intentionally sending them into covid hotbeds. Society cannot claim to have been unaccountable when their elected governments continued to terrify their own people to the point of societal trauma with many taking their own lives in despair or choosing to die at home in agony rather than seek hospital treatment. A society that enforces irrational, arbitrary rules that leaves women to suffer a miscarriage without their partner’s loving embrace, or stops children from comforting their grieving, elderly mother at her husband’s funeral is one that has clearly lost its moral way.
We can’t blame this behaviour on a disease that over 99% of the population will survive. Is this really the altar on which we want to sacrifice empathy and basic human decency? Let’s just take a breath and ponder the words Not to speak is to speak, and not to act is to act.
Many people have shown that they are blind to the colossal human suffering lockdowns have inflicted, calling for further restrictions and with-it further destruction to society. How on earth did we get here? When children must wear face masks and not see this as child abuse. What direction is our moral compass facing in?
To understand what has happened in a year I can only conclude that the whole of society is in collective trauma. In a state of fight, fright, or freeze. Some are most definitely in fight and I am one of those. Resistance on any level feels like I am standing in my truth which is the only place to find my peace. For others they are in fright, having been scared mindless by the relentless and combined government and media propaganda, too scared to come out from under their safe sofa. For others they are in freeze, unable to think or act for themselves. This is going to take a long time to recover from. Long covid is not so much a physical remnant of the virus as a mental remnant of deliberate psychological scare tactics.
It’s going to take a long time to unwind from this period. To undo the fear of disease. To trust in our leaders again. To feel safe in amongst our fellow humans. We have allowed the most terrible atrocities to happen while we looked the other way. Happily convincing ourselves we were galvanizing the wartime spirit of keeping calm and carrying on making sourdough, clapping like performing seals on a Thursday evening for an NHS which wasn’t serving us, happily accepting furlough in trade for freedom to work. Ignoring the bits, we didn’t want to face, the suffering of others, so long as we felt safe.
In conclusion, the covid era has ruthlessly exposed our lack of moral fibre. It has exposed the clandestine totalitarianism and shocking disregard for life that simmers beneath the surface of even the most civilised of societies. Have we not collectively lost our moral way when it has become acceptable to mask our children and allow the old to die alone? Covid has exposed the worst of ourselves. It is not a period in history to be remembered as an inspirational tale of human resilience and unity. We all have a responsibility for assisting those whose immoral agendas who have sought to gain from this crisis. Not speaking out is not saving lives.
If we can so readily submit to the loss of our moral guidance and our liberty we can look forward to a dark future; an eco-fascist, dystopia where humans will be reduced to a herd of animals to be constantly tracked, traced, and medicated. Make no mistake, the freedoms that have been taken from us already will be hard to reclaim. For a large part of the public this warning will come too late; they have been successfully broken by the state and may never recover completely. As for the rest of us, seeking to restore our morality must now become paramount.
We need to regain the freedoms society has willingly conceded under the influence of coercive propaganda and psychological manipulation. The first step to achieving this goal is to stop and breathe. Take a deep breath, reassess where we are and where we are heading and reset our moral compass. Each one of us needs to stand in front of the mirror and ask, what is my truth about this time in history? In which direction is my moral compass guiding me?