With gratitude to all my good ancestors,
Please guide me and please help me do this right.
I am voicing a very strong objection to politicizing our intimate reactions to the pandemic.
We are all dealing with an existential crisis, and adding partisan agitation to this—on any side—is neither humane nor helpful.
First, let me point at the elephant in the room: The establishment media coverage of this pandemic has been abysmal. It’s like WMD all over again, but this time around it’s impacting everyone, including traditionally privileged Americans who are experiencing a life-shattering geopolitical event for the first time in their lives.
Television is telling people that we are all going to die unless we freeze. Many managerial talking heads are strangely stuck in the never-ending act of unTrumping—despite the fact the actual issue is much deeper than Trump or his equally cartoonish on-screen foes.
A long time ago, we have collectively cut our ties with nature and the mystery of life, and it could be the beginning of our civilizational reckoning time, the time when bullshit falls off. As a nation, we have forever refused to deal with the fact that life is not a set of mechanical transactions—but a mysterious act that requires full existential participation. As a civilization, we have chosen to not invest in individual wisdom and balance—but to instead place our faith in rules and algorithms that are supposed to protect us and keep us “safe.”
The centuries-old tradition of “going by the letter” is cracking. It is not just some “ism” that is cracking, it is the entire practice of living while disconnected from nature and our innate senses. The math of infinite economic expansion is bust, there is nowhere to go. Our skies and rivers are poisoned by the byproducts of that infinite expansion, and so are our minds and bodies. The machine is trying to regroup so that it can continue violating the laws of physics, smoke is starting to come out of its every orifice, and we can now smell it. The smell is not pleasant, and to the previously sheltered passengers, checking under the hood feels too creepy and unsafe. “Do NOT look under the hood,” the rule book says. “Bad things cannot happen to us unless Trump causes them.” Thus, it becomes about unTrumping America, as if removing one symbol of corruption is going to keep the smoking hood sealed forever.
Let me repeat, the media coverage of the pandemic has been abysmal—myopic and Pravda-like. So what if in my home city, the world’s center of the pandemic, the governor betrayed the elderly and mandated nursing homes to take COVID patients, thus putting thousands of lives at risk—and then made nursing home execs, his donors, immune to lawsuits, while also cutting Medicaid? A hero.
So what if many people died tragically and unnecessarily due to the flaws in our profit-driven, litigious medical system that resulted in sticking to unfitting ventilator protocols? “Interesting,” in the words of Anthony Fauci.
So what if many poisons in our bodies—from air pollution, from bad food, and from overly chemical medicine—made many people weaker and more vulnerable to the virus? Doesn’t matter, poison is profitable.
So what if the conversation about treatments has been criminally tainted with greed, myopic politics, and colonial arrogance (here and here), depriving human beings of treatment options that could have saved them? “But Trump!”
So what if big hospitals already were chaotic even before the pandemic, with several hundred thousand people dying every year from harms associated with hospital care? NOT a national emergency.
So what if drastic policies were triggered by poorly designed models by a scientist with an abysmal track record of accuracy and tight connections to the pharmaceutical industry, and that the concept of “social distancing” in its algorithmic form is a frivolous social experiment that was born fourteen years ago out of a teenager’s school project and curiosity of a bureaucrat?
So what if there is an unscientific push for any dissenting voices to disappear or be discredited, as our leaders are making deals with tech billionaires whose vision for our future is basically insane?
American billionaires have gotten $434 billion dollars richer during the lockdown, and left and right—literally—our leaders are making deals that are good for them, not so good for us—and the more terrified we are to look under the hood, the stronger the chance that the dystopia might come for us. Our fear is their bread.
Now, I don’t like politics but if I had to choose my politics, I would be left-leaning, My relationship with nature is one of love, awe, and gratitude. I am strongly against environmental or human rights abuses of all kinds. I am pro indigenous rights and against fossil fuels. And with that, I absolutely disagree with the screaming soundbites coming from the managers of my demographic. There are too many glaring omissions in their narrative, too much sensationalist bias, too much Pravda-like attacks on opponents. But most importantly, the idea that we can possibly avoid the physical world and other human beings, beyond some basic common sense precautions, is absurd and rooted in the same fantasy that has gotten our ailing civilization where it is right now. Fantasy is fantasy no matter anything else. We can’t avoid the physical world. We are not designed to live in individual bubbles, and there are not enough dignifying bubbles for everybody anyway, so in the real world, most bubbles would be prison cells.
Without a doubt, is a lot of suffering all around—but the conflict is not between “science” and “humanity” on the left and “greed” on the right. The conflict is between those of us across the entire spectrum who are trying to genuinely understand what’s going on and to act in accordance with our individual conscience—and those across the entire spectrum who are cynically and enthusiastically monetizing every drop of everyone’s pain and suffering.
The science on almost every aspect of the pandemic is all over the place, and the amount of greed is obscene among the power players in both camps. Sure, some of them like fossil fuels, and some like nuclear energy. Some are racist via their Twitter, and some are racist via their colonial “philanthropy.” Some seek to prop their standing and their bottom line by opening up the existing economy and boosting oil, and some seek to prop theirs by using an artificially created paralysis of the world economy to restructure energy markets, agriculture, healthcare, and education in a way that abuses the planet innovatively. But how is abuse—old or new—normal? Why can’t we make our decisions not based on what Trump said or didn’t say and not based on any book but based on our personal sacred relationship with the world?
The conflict is not between the left and the right but between the people and the metaphorical vampires.
Soundbites are not going to save us at this point. We have the mystery of life to deal with.
A personal story: A few weeks ago, I was very sick and then recovered. For a little while, I was so overtaken by the temporary physical suffering that it made most of the bullshit fall off. The intensity of the physical suffering set my heart free. I realized that life is magical and wonderful, and that the never-ending noise of media gossip and fear-mongering is poison.
I command the poison to go away.
Let the zombies eat each other.