A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.― Gilles Deleuze
Today is day
26 90 000 of self isolation.
I haven’t been posting much about my life because, well, it really just isn’t that interesting. Every day consists of a workout, some web design training, some reading, and maybe a nap and a video game. Real exciting stuff.
In the last few days though, I have spent probably more time than I care to admit, cruising the internet and Facebook. Sometimes I’m just skimming the page, and sometimes I’ll really reading what people have to say. And I have to say that the messages are getting darker and more divided on social media. There are theories that are being shared as well as some pretty sensational partisan opinions and that has got me thinking…. Why is this?
We are all experiencing a Trauma in some form or another. This trauma will manifest itself differently in each of us and we will all deal with is a little differently. In my entirely non-educated opinion there are a couple different sections that we can fit most of them into.
Trauma can be defined as a “Deeply distressing or disturbing experience”
Conspiracy Theorists: I’m sure by now you’ve all heard close to a million theories on this virus. They range from the theory that it is spread through 5G networks, to the theory that this was developed and unleashed on the Unites States by the Chinese government. I’m not going to get into refuting these too much but this virus is a biological creature… and can not travel on radio waves. This thinking manifests itself because people can not emotionally and logically handle the thought that the world, with all of our advances, is actually truly chaotic. They need some kind of structure and explanation for everything, so the conspiracies will start to come out and find followers, because this reason is easier to swallow than the fact that well, really we are all just living in some kind of organized chaos and really it doesn’t take that much to throw everything off.
Libertarianism: I thought about lumping this group in with Conspiracy Theorists but I think they are different enough that they can have their own group. The most common view I have seen on this is that the government handing out tickets for congregating in large groups, not maintaining social distancing, or using parks that are closed is somehow violating our rights as a free country. That somehow we are never ever going to get the freedom back to leave unsupervised again. I’ve even seen some say that the government is using this virus as smoke and mirror show to take away our freedoms. While it is true that governments can try to use a crisis to pass laws that will give them certain new powers, it does not make any sense that a government would create an economic and humanitarian crisis to do so. Let alone over 200 governments around the world, at the same time. What scares these people is that they are not able to go about their normal lives. Maybe they are used to being busy all day, maybe that being busy all day is a way for them to ignore some other mental health issues. This is where they can be lumped in with conspiracy theorists a little bit. It’s easier, mentally, in the short term, to find something tangible to blame for the way the world is right now.
Hoarders/Doomsdayers: Here is one I know we have all seen, or have all felt the effects of. Has anyone tried to buy pasta in the last month? Can’t find it? Probably because one of your neighbors has 60 packs of it sitting in their basement, despite it being a well known fact, that we are not actually running out of food. We probably won’t either. This is a little harder to explain than the first two. I think that the reason people do this is because their trauma manifests itself as some sort of extended panic attack. They are terrified of the worst case scenario happening and buying those 60 packs of pasta is how they are self-soothing themselves. This is not saying that this behaviour is okay, but I think this is why they’re behaving like this.
I’m reading a book right now and one of the key things in the book is that we have created a society in the last 30 years or so that is terrified of any kind of negative experiences. This will largely affect how we deal with actual problems, especially ones that are out of our control. Because lets face it, this is entirely out of our individual control. We can help mitigate this by staying home but that’s about it.
One major take away from this, is that there are going to be bad things that happen, uncomfortable things, sad things, traumas, etc. Life is messy, life is ugly, and it will always be messy and ugly in some way. This is unavoidable in our lives. This is not how we avoid these traumas, but how we handle them, how we deal with them. Some of us need to deal with these traumas by engaging in these wild theories or some kind of blame game. This will help in the short term on a personal level but it won’t help in the long term. We need to step back, take a breath, and let people who are far more educated than us, do their work. And we need to listen to them.
The best thing you can do is sit down and take the time to acknowledge that the world is chaotic. This is not the first time something like this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last. We are not going to come out of this the same and my hope is that we learn some valuable lessons as individuals and as nations. But in order to learn those lessons, we are first going to need to go through this. It’s not going to be fun. It’s not going to be comfortable. It’s going to leave something on all of our psyche’s. And that’s okay.
We are so fortunate to be able to stay in our comfortable, heated homes and to stay connected through the internet/phone.
But if you do find yourself needing to talk to someone there are a few numbers that you can contact: