People march back into their respective workplaces ready to face the New Year once again like they always have. Whether this New Year will be a better one is a favourite subject of debate specially now that everything’s changed. While it may seem that humanity is in the cusp of a “solution” to the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the coming year is still regarded by many as a bittersweet prospect owing to the now evidently formidable task of rolling out the newly-developed vaccines to the broader public and the looming threat of Mother Nature unleashing new strains of the coronavirus. The fact is, there is no guaranteeing a future free of highly-transmittable and possibly even deadlier, more virulent mutations of the virus.
Disruptively infectious disease that are able to keep a step or two ahead of efforts to develop “cures” could keep our science on its toes for the foreseeable future. It could also likely mean that change has finally come, permanently. Perhaps this is payback after almost three decades of excess. It is easy — now having the benefit of hindsight, but of course — to realise the lifestyle we felt we were entitled to that had, to begin with, been unsustainable.
For example, how on earth, after all, did we think cheap air travel and, on the back of that, us hopping onto planes for short getaways almost every weekend could be kept up without consequences? The environmentalists had been warning us. Mother Nature, however, does not warn. It only unleashes.
Those who believe that our ingenuity as a species is unlimited and that we will “surely” get over this “crisis” and regain the standard of living that is our “human right” to enjoy perhaps fail to really understand things outside of our human gaze. Though it may be quaintly arguable that human cleverness knows no bounds in its ability to overcome challenges to our planetary domination, we remain subject to the millions of real-world variables that, much as we wish we could ignore, we remain irrevocably subject to.
When it comes down to the crux of the matter, really, it is our enormous numbers that are ultimately doing us in. When we demand more space, more resources, and more stuff to satisfy our frivolous natures and, on top of that, are made to believe the “market” will always respond with economic value to meet these demands, that part of the planetary equation our economic models routinely fail to take into account will come relevant to our collective consciousness with a vengeance.
Sometimes we just need to accept that the world does not revolve around our needs and wants. The hubris we applied to how we managed our coexistence with the other species with which we share our little space in the universe comes at a cost. Like any other species on this planet, we don’t get special treatment. It leads one to recall the genius in the lyrics of the 1980 song “Passover” by the Joy Division.
This is a crisis I knew had to come,
Destroying the balance I’d kept.
Doubting, unsettling and turning around,
Wondering what will come next.
Is this the role that you wanted to live?
I was foolish to ask for so much.
Of the album Closer within which it was a track and on the collective theme of its tracks, James Peppercorn wrote on Aussie youth ezine Happy…
Its message is one of release, escaping the constraints which hold each individual down. The album is a memorial to the undying and ever-expanding influence of one the world’s most extraordinary bands.
However you view the album, through the lens of extreme darkness or as a void that sucks in light, it also signifies rebirth.
Escaping our constraints as a people can only be done if we step away from the stuff we feel we are entitled to but, in reality, are what are holding us down. The pandemic drives across important messages our comprehension of which is long overdue.
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