Friday, April 10, 2020

The Final Solution: Period of Adjustment

There has been much talk about the legacy of the coronavirus pandemic, from the point of view of the economy, politics (will the aftermath be the death knell of globalism), culture and particularly social relations. But what about the Stockholm syndrome in which the victim ends up falling in love with the torturer? No one wants to be infected, but humankind has almost ubiquitously been turned into the inmates of a vast internment camp—a gigantic gulag which is fast becoming a way of life. Once you’ve had your freedom taken away, it can be difficult to adjust to living in a world in which the constraints which have dictated your life are lifted. Long-term inmates who have been paroled often find the adjustment to society difficult. At some time, hopefully, they’ll be first a flattening then a descent of the curve of new cases and while there has been much talk about a resurge taking place say next fall or winter, there will come a time when the threat of the virus passes. If you grew up in the 50s you’ll remember posters of polio victims in wheelchairs or  iron lungs. Even though the scourge wasn’t as rampant, fear was great and the Spanish flu epidemic of l918 paralleled coronavirus in  the ferocity of its permeability. But that plague preceded the roaring twenties which themselves became a harbinger of the Great Depression and while there are parallels it may be safe to say that no other disease has brought so many societies to a halt at the same time. All of a sudden survival and all those things associated with it—such as putting food on the table—have become universally paramount. Fame, beauty, greatness—all seem to pale in importance in the middle of a health siege. However, once it’s over, how will life resume? Some of those who have begun to find a meaning and solace in limitation will again be pushed into an aspirational universe, where just the essentials are not enough. It’s not that anyone wants current conditions to continue, it’s just that, if you haven’t been felled by the beast (as the virus is called), then you’re likely to face a difficult period of adjustment once your sentence is commuted and you’ve paid your debt for being alive. What will you do with yourself when you’re released from The Big House?

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