Thursday, June 9, 2022

Stranger in a Strange Land

There are the obvious signposts: the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, January 6 which change the world in both profound and superficial ways. Profound change might fall in the category of the “paradigm shifts” Thomas Kuhn outlined in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Superficial change is the closing of the two CVS pharmacies on Third Avenue. Of superficial changes, the closing of pharmacies has been one of the most notable. The fact is that the world before February of 2020 seems almost innocent, pre-Adamic in quality. Remembering back, you may not recognize that social creature closing “social distance” perhaps by increasing one’s "social capital." On a superficial level you shared spaces with people and saw their faces. You had never heard of Zoom. Every population exhibits different longevity for men and women. There are a small group who die young and then there are the others who start falling off much later in life. The pandemic put friendship in an evolutionary framework. It became a literal Ice Age eliminating entire species of human relationship while whittling down the few that remained. Quantum mechanics changed the laws of physics. A particle could, for instance, be in two places at the same time. One of the legacies of co-morbidity is a non-theatrical form of Brechtian verfremdungseffekt or "estrangement." The familiar becomes unreal, familiar faces are imposters (the neuro term is Capgras Syndrome) or familiar faces suddenly seem scrambled (Prosopagnosia). Will life continue on from where it left off BC, (Before Covid)? Is it a matter of simply removing the masks? Unlikely. The Robert Heinlein classic, Stranger in a Strange Land, deals with the return to earth by a space traveller who has grown up on Mars.

read "The Chapbook Lady" by Francis Levy, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

and listen to "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke

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