The world is changed. Like it or not, the world as you knew it before the pandemic is GONE.
Returning to how it was is impossible. Period, end of story.
However, as frustrating, sad, and disconcerting as that may be — it could also be a good thing.
But first, we need to clarify a few things.
There is a period of history called the dark ages. It was ruled by demagogues and fear-mongerers. There was little to no science or reason, people believed in evil spirits, curses, signs, and portents to explain the inexplicable.
There was no middle class, just the haves, and the have-nots. It was not a good period in human history.
Somehow, today, we are reviving this.
When the top of the government ignores science and reason for their own agenda — and people buy into it — you get a new dark age. Science and reason are called into question by entitlement and those with power playing on fear.
What’s more, as the haves strive to destroy the middle class and create more have-nots, education (and this history lesson here) goes right out the window.
How do we turn this around and stop this second dark age from coming to pass?
Resist the entitlement
A great deal of science denial is based on entitlement.
Half of that entitlement is on the part of our so-called leaders. White privilege, money, and their influence and greed are ridiculous and utterly distressing.
They then play on the fears of their constituents and supporters and tell them how all the things they are entitled to will be taken away by the “other.”
Then they create that “other.” Hence the labels they give negative attributes to — such as liberal, feminist, immigrant, person of color, and so on.
Because they have a lot of money, they use it for influence. With that they are creating more have-nots, taking only for themselves, and not giving a rat’s ass about whether they destroy the planet or the “others.” Hence pushing to reopen the economy while deregulating everything they can for their own benefit.
As if that’s not enough to make your blood boil, they then preach to their followers about how THEY are entitled to this, that, or the other thing. That creates the other half of the equation. Tremendous double-speak as they wave one hand to distract their followers while picking their pockets with the other.
They entitle their people to believe they should be able to go back to work — or back to places where the “other” is doing the labor and is an acceptable loss to COVID-19.
Since the entitled in power don’t care about masks and social distance their followers are entitled to ignore these, too. Right?
Of course, the haves also have ready access to health care and won’t go bankrupt if they do get sick. Their entitled followers tend to be blinded to all their hypocrisy.
How else could a blatantly selfish, narcissistic liar like Trump retain any followers at all?
Those of us who are more resistant to this type of entitlement need to work extra hard to spread reason.
Wear a mask when you go to the store. Maintain social distance. Stay in touch with people via text, phone, messenger, and so on.
We need to normalize these behaviors. People need to be shown that protecting themselves and others from this virus is also privilege. You are entitled to have a mask and take precautions to protect yourself and others.
I have lost two people I knew to COVID-19. There are far more people in my life who are immunocompromised, have weak lungs or asthma, or are otherwise particularly endangered were they to be made sick by this preventable virus.
Remind people that wearing a mask and maintaining distance is not an infringement on their liberties and privileges as the terrible leaders imply. Let’s be blunter with them. Remind them that the almost 85,000 deaths (and rising) are not mere numbers — but mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, family, friends, and loved ones who are gone that needn’t be gone.
If you don’t already know someone who died from this — odds are you will.
We need to further push to hold accountable the counterfactualists, pseudoscientists, demagogues, and others who are denying science and reason for their own gain and power. We need to get social media outlets to flag these and mark them as lacking in truth.
You can go ahead and have your first amendment right to free speech — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a consequence when its spreading disinformation and lies. Let’s demand that those who run the social media outlets mark those posts on Facebook and Twitter as lacking in proof, fact, and scientific value.
You are empowered (not entitled) with the ability to be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. As such, when you see posts online counter to facts — or have someone standing too close to you in a line at a store — say something.
Choose to learn for yourself what is true and what is not. Is there science behind the claim or is it a conspiracy theory? Is there just one source for this story — or many? Are they credible sources or a group of people with no credentials to speak of?
You can practice reason in the face of entitlement and fear. By being mindful, you become aware in the here-and-now of what you are thinking, what and how you are feeling, the intention behind your actions, and your overall psyche, mindset, and headspace. Use that to help spread reason.
You can also decide if it’s worth it to engage with the entitled or not. When is it worth the discussion or argument — or instead better to walk away? Being mindful will inform you.
We can and will get through this pandemic. How the world looks on the other side doesn’t need to be as it was — it can be better. You are empowered to help drive that.
Practice kindness and empathy. Wear a mask in public. Wash your hands. Practice self-care.
Submitted for your consideration.
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter — as does finding and using reason to make that reality the best it can be.