A Permanent State of Debility
July 10, 2021
*There are worse places than death; and we are heading there...
Our love affair with ourselves has turned to neurosis...*
“COVID is with us from here on in. The post-COVID world will never be the same….our lives will be lived radically differently…..”
This is the storyline, and I believe it to be almost entirely fictional, and it is being spread across the nation, maybe the world, and inculcated to acceptance into the minds of many, maybe most, people.
It is the kind of storyline which is likely to become ‘self-fulfilling’ in fact; in the sense that when most people believe a certain thing, belief in that thing becomes a great governor, motivator and director of their thoughts, actions, and of their other beliefs.
The storyline has grown, developed from it being a ‘ghastly unsubstantiated germ of a forecast’ called by doom-callers right at the start; at the time when people first began showing symptoms, and some of us dying of them, and which are associated with the Covid 19 affair.
Since the beginning then this looming prophesy has been there; and this fact alone should raise your interest and concern.
Thereafter, and for close on two years now, the news in all its shapes and sizes has been dominated to an extent not seen before by persons now alive, by a single event and by the concerns which have arisen and clustered around that event: again the Covid 19 affair.
Over the course of this period steadily and insistently the storyline has accumulated and been built up so that it has become and is likely to continue as a Peyton Place, endless and, like the poor, always with us ; a piece of mental landscape we cannot ignore and must consult on whenever we set foot outside our doors, or do, see or go to anything in the world, local, national or abroad. It will be a shadow upon our thoughts; even in flaming June and the sun is direct on our heads above us we shall be in shadow because the curse of the times is upon us; just as Mephistopheles was said to be never outside of hell wherever he goes.
Here we begin to see revealed the true nature of A Permanent State of Debility. The owner of this badge is not Covid 19; rather its owner is the cautious apprehension carried around daily and nightly in our heads, and about the threats, dangers, risks, fears, of Covid 19.
The same author on Mephistopheles also wrote that “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so”. Not strictly true in my own opinion but very useful and pertinent to the Covid 19 event and its hold on many, maybe most, people’s minds.
My query here is – has this sense of fear to paralysis of Covid 19, this storyline I am discussing, come about organically, and in the natural course of events; or has it been fostered with some deliberation by some person or group or groups of persons, deliberately introduced and nurtured?
There’s a lot more to this question than straightforward either/or answers are able to lay out satisfactorily. And necessarily so there is no need to raise spectres of ‘conspiracy theory’ (although that should not be ruled out as being a possibility) so as to allow for one to make an elective deliberation connected with this creation, and with its forwarding as a storyline.
The fudge answer that ‘maybe the truth rests somewhere between the extremities of a deliberate construction and an accidental nurture’ - this thesis is one which is commonly used so as to write off, and to dismiss any element of collusive concerted work being a part of such a storyline, and in that dismissal, dismissing along with it the serious concerns which might properly be raised even by minimal established evidence being available for concluding on a partial planned construction job regarding the Covid 19 story. The fudge contains that hidden corollary: “Well, of course there are always those dyed in the wool few villains in the world who would want to profit from, or have an interest in, such a storyline being pushed and peddled. Thus a mode of dismissal.
But before any conclusions are jumped to, and to try to avoid such jumps, there are some thoughts and considerations we are able to use as hard evidence which may help establish more firmly your own views somewhat on the progress of the story of the Covid 19 affair.
Here we go.
Is Covid 19 special?
Note that I am not here questioning the item Covid 19 itself; and there is no question that there has been a phenomenon seen in which many people have been laid up or have died from chest infection and in many cases suffered deaths associated with and exacerbated by their underlying pathologies.
Let’s go with that.
Is there anything I’ve written in that description which is not true for annual flu cycles, and so in the comparison remains special to Covid 19? I don’t see anything?
There’s a rumour which ebbs and flows, gaining ground now, and drifting out of sight then, which suggests a possibility that Covid 19 is a man-made illness; one which in various guises has escaped from a germ laboratory, sometimes a germ warfare laboratory, sometime in just a laboratory. The escape has been suggested to have been deliberate; the escape has been said to have been accidental. The laboratory is been said to have been in China, and in the context of man made, this is the prevailing view; and it has at other times, and from other heads, been a the laboratory said to have been funded, and initiated by USA bodies, either private or public in nature. The stories get Byzantine and have many roads and turnings.
But again – does any of this long tale of intrigue bear on Covid 19, so that in the field, in its presence and spread and potency and virulence, its presence makes Covid 19 special and so is stood out from any other similar illness such as annual flu? I can’t see it
So far as we are able to know, we listeners of wirelesses and starers into TV sets, the Covid 19 illness behaves just like a virus of any kind typically behaves. It is dormant when outside a host; it spreads by contact from person to person, including airborne, it mutates like all living things, species, are claimed to by biologists, it responds apparently to people being vaccine inoculated and thereby it becomes more or less impotent; it affects some age groups and not others; older people are more vulnerable to its ravages; few young, or middle aged people get seriously ill by it by comparison. There are probably a lot more traits and behaviours common to other viruses and to many types of living thing (even though some experts do not claim the status of ‘a living thing’ for viruses. And this established and non-controversial fact actually displays the unsound ground even the most qualified of us is on when dealing with items like Covid 19 – and that’s important. The ‘front’ presented by news and views media prefers to award to science and biology a certitude that the more circumspect of its community would not claim hastily for their discipline and their studies. God be with them)
So far then have I identified anything special to Covid 19 as against say flu or as against say norovirus? I don’t think so? If you know of anything special about it let me know.
So let’s assume in its behaviour and effects it is pretty much standard vis a vis viruses.
You might want to object and talk about variants of Covid 19 and say that these keep cropping up and are acting to continue the misery for us all? You might want to claim therefore that these variants arising represent a real correlation between the people getting ill and dying and the climate of perpetual fears and caution we are being encouraged to live in, or as I would say, to live under? Let’s now look at this area of concern.
Are its variants in general terms special only to Covid 19?
First of all let’s call the variants mutations. There may be people, some of them scientists, who would object and say the variants are not fully fledged mutations in the main. The way I see it that’s as long as a piece of string.
Mutations they are then – for us here and now. Mutations, so the evolutionary storyline goes, are randomly created. I have written elsewhere on what this term ‘randomly created’ might actually mean upon analysis of it. My opinion is that ‘randomly’ is an impossible concept empirically-speaking, of which men and women can obtain no clear idea; and that there are inherent contradictions and barriers to obtaining its presence anywhere else but as a figment in our heads.
The evolutionary storyline goes on to say that randomly mutated species are next selected by nature (natural selection), and thus raises a spectacle of volition in nature, embedded in the linguistic terms biology uses so as to explain its concepts. Of course even Richard Dawkins would agree that nature has no volition, and that things that happen naturally, happen as they happen; indeed the very way we say ‘it just came to me naturally’ acknowledges this phenomenon of happenstance.
Let that go. Virus mutations are ‘honed down’ then in the course of events by happenstance so that those that are non-viable, and so cannot survive, die away extinct, whereas the more fit ones (survival of the fittest) (fit not for gym, but for their slot in the life arena) these proser and thrive and spread and when they are really useful they become dominant strains.
Fitness is a quality adjudged by men and women in this regard. It is a value judgement made based on what people observe. It is not a quality of value which is in any way inherent in the being of a mutation. This is an important fact and distinction, because – as the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy would have said – ‘it’s just another event’ and existentially there’s nothing more to it quality, value, and phenomenological-wise
The grey squirrel has more or less ousted the red squirrel in Britain, because it is more aggressively a survivor. Likewise the black rat was prevalent in England until about 1650 1700 when the brown rat came into the land from elsewhere, and ousted the black rat, because of its survival factors. The black rat is said to have been the carrier of The Bubonic Plague, lethal to humans - so, good deal, brown rat eh?
This theoretical position on the character of mutations is held, by those who know, to apply generally to all species. Is there anything in Covid 19 which stands out as aberrant here? I haven’t found it?
Some mutations of Covid 19 are more contagious, offer more severe symptoms, tend moreso to attack susceptibilities in various classes of person; and so on; but not necessarily or maybe not often all of these types of traits together; rarely a ‘supermute’.
Flu has its mutations. A new kind of flu, in fact a few new kinds, generally come round each year and the vaccines to quell these are adjusted yearly by scientists so as to ‘cut the coat according to the cloth’ and so give the public what is gambled upon, using probability for a person jabbed, the resistance thought best. Other common and commonly spread and caught viruses by persons are not tracked and traced as like is flu virus; for various reason I guess. Reasons like, I’d guess, they only very unusually end in death, they are less common and frequent than is, say, flu;
and of course they are not in the limelight, in the way flu becomes every autumn, and so, and lastly, there’s little money in their vaccines being developed.
The reasons I have supposed for ‘other viruses’ and their mutations not being tracked traced and found vaccines for, are enlightening and they further my arguments greatly when one applies them to the Covid 19 affair. Their combined effect when applied thus is to show people (I hope you) why Covid 19 is being pursued like an obsession, like a chase down a rabbithole by pharmacy and other companies, by governments and by media in general.
Let’s take the arguments one at a time for why there are no inoculations for less known viruses, and see how they fare when set against Covid 19
they only very unusually end in death,
they are less common and frequent than is, say, flu;
and of course they are not in the limelight, in the way flu becomes every autumn,
and so, and lastly, there’s little money in their vaccines being developed
Firstly then, there is a difficulty in making or drawing comparisons of death rates so as to resolve a contention that other and less known viruses when caught by people, seldom end in death. This is because there are likely few if any figures , because few if any studies have been made on the incidence of death, in the case especially concerning social groups susceptible to infection and serious health issues from them. This reflection of mine here concerns only lesser known viruses extant in, and that visit periodically, the developed countries.
(Consider all the work attention and effort that has been spent, squandered, lavishly on Covid research and about how much resultant data we as lay persons have been bombarded with daily, hourly 24/7 for the past 18 or more months; this data served to lay persons being less than the proverbial tip of an iceberg of all data accumulated all around the world in such wild and abandoned profusion. Were one nanobyte of a percent of such an amount of data that has been generated on the topic, to match that created on any other virus, perhaps even including the profuse and commonplace flu research, I would be astonished at such unlikely profligacy. Again regarding the developed countries only)
And even were one to be able to draw comparisons, does one compare by percentage of those infected who also die, or by whole and actual numbers of those who die? It is likely that by percentage many lesser known viruses are more lethal, possibly by far, than is Covid 19? It is however likely that by using, comparing, whole numbers of actual deaths, that Covid 19 comes out far more prevalent as being a large killer?
But as I say, I am suggesting the data is not there, and that nor is that little which is available anywhere near sufficient to make such comparisons just and proper. The general and widely reported dangers from the Covid 19 affair can only remain, on this reckoning, unsubstantiated, because insubstantiable. The fear generated then, is offered to us, on this reckoning, as a ‘given’ element; and is a ‘given’ akin to that one which makes a presumption that energy is always conserved; and again is akin to a commonplace presumption that aberrant scientific occurrences which are reported by uneducated or ‘primitive’ people are usually baseless. The line between such assumptions as ‘givens’ can come very near to the threshold of them being able to be declared prejudice.
(Added to this issue is the verifiable fact which any alert observer and listener is able to pick up on again and again, almost daily; which is that our media sell us short very often and regularly in their reporting of statistics. Even, although less often, the persons who claim to know about statistics and about illnesses, are prone to use figures and statistics loosely and wantonly when attempting to make contact with lay persons’ supposed uninitiated minds. It is more than mere simplification. It is seriously denying a public a solid backstory behind an event, or a supposed discovery, a figure, or percentage. It is also failing to give sufficient context on the limiting and conditioning factors and circumstances which surround a statement or a figure or a ratio. The quick fix sound byte statistic is used to shock, to caution, to call listeners to attention, and so supplies just enough apparent listening value, which in fact does not bear up when many statements of this kind are examined after a reflective fashion.
In short, because most of these men and women to whom we trust, on whom we rely, for our information and guidance; media people and science people; are the products of our most prestigious educational establishments – Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, London, Imperial, and so on – is it not reasonable that we should expect precision and clarity from them, at least for a great majority of the time? So what is the reason for the clear laxity in reporting and communication which is widespread and carried over in earfuls and eyefuls of data dispensed to us daily? There are two choices. Firstly, one has to consider that our most prestigious educational institutions are not all they are cracked up to be. Otherwise and secondly, one has to consider that some fault is present which is due either to lackadaisical attitudes towards the job of keeping a nation informed, or else that this offering consistently of insufficient data for a public to shape for itself informed judgements is indeed policy and so is deliberately the case.
Take your choice. No option that is available does credit to anyone involved in informing and guiding the public.)
Again the question arises: what is it that makes Covid 19 special, vis a vis other viruses and other illnesses, commonplace, and often more lethal, in our times and society?
Further, the extension of our concerns as a nation about this Covid 19 affair, reaches into nearly all reporting, all agonising, and all discussions on it, all of which as I have said has been and continues to be obsessive and all-consuming, as seen in media, science. These obsessions, by far the most part of them, bother scientists, media, and our citizens, only as far as Dover and Harwich. The concerns of Covid in other nations do not perturb us. The situations in those other nations do not impinge on our senses of health and safety here at home.
To be blunt, the carnage and attrition which we as a nation have been happy to see and allow to go on in a great number of what we term undeveloped nations, and this for the whole of my lifetime and most likely long before then, and most likely long after me, has been at the least, as a very bare minimum, as great and as damaging Covid 19 has been with us. We did not, do not, agonise in the same way about this obscenity.
Instead, and let’s be specific and give examples, we are in a place at which, too blinded by ‘playtimes with oneself’, we are unable to do more than enjoy gestures, purge ourselves of doing our duties by way of joining in, with items like protests and participatory art events, and solidarity gatherings, and the like. By us expending, even ‘spending’ our senses of conscience and obligation, by going to and joining such events, we wipe away our obligations and consider our duties done and dusted. In truth we have dissipated our abilities to feel emphatically, and to have compassion empathetically, and so to take real ownership of our privileged positions and well-beings, and so to acknowledge that these demand of us imperatively that we not merely mouthe or show a loving duty to people and peolpes in distress or deprivation, and so accept that, at the least, we actively distribute our surpluses, and make a sure effort to give actual assistance - rather than allowing, accepting, enjoying, the spending of lots of time, money, effort, - and I have to say, ego, - on ‘having fun’ ‘awareness raising’ - and I would to offer say we owe much better, much more.
There are worse places than death; and we are heading there….
Here is where we are - in Manchester 2021. The Manchester International Festival. Go yourself to the URL links I offer and check out for yourself the things said there and which I discuss here.
“Poet Slash Artist is an exploration of poets who work with visual art and visual artists who work with poetry. Throughout the history of art and literature today there are more words and images passing between us than ever.
Poet Slash Artist is an expansive exhibition of cultures, continents, languages and generations, blurring the lines of received opinion. The streets of Manchester will become the art gallery featuring specially commissioned new work (check back in June for locations and a map) and the heart of the exhibition will be at HOME because home is where the art is.
There’ll also be a day of spoken word and music at Homeground, HOME’s summer-long open-air stage, and a film season at HOME featuring artists whose work overlaps the worlds of poetry and visual art. Details of both will be announced in the coming weeks”
Setting aside an appalling farrago of misuse of written English, here is that blend of ‘this is for everybody; it’s inclusive”: being an approach which in fact offers to a few select and privileged persons, who have appropriated the itinerary, a costly opportunity to be seen and heard publicly.
The actual conception of the itinerary as expressed is vague and unexplained and unjustified by the description of it. The item smacks of dressing up a programme of events and exhibition so as to bring in an audience by way of an appeal to that audience that ‘this is being done for you’.
In short the written description follows moreso the approaches in use by commercial advertisers of goods and services, than that it follows a line of descriptive truth about itself.
The selling of the item is being attempted by way of a certain bad faith which suggests that the foreseen audience has been the prime concern to be the beneficiary from the event, and that the exhibits have been created generously and for the most part for the sake of solicitude for that audience.
Whereas in fact…..read on…..
“We Dwell in Possibility is a queer gardening simulation shaped by intimacy and politics – designed by Robert Yang, a videogame developer whose work explores gay subcultures, with visuals by cartoonist and illustrator Eleanor Davis. It’s the third world premiere in the Virtual Factory series, inviting artists to imagine new worlds in response to the physical architecture and artistic ambition of MIF’s future home.
Robert Yang is an architect of virtual space whose work addresses the politics of videogame worlds, asking: who do these worlds represent and who do they exclude? Subverting crowd simulation software used by architects of physical buildings, We Dwell in Possibility invites the player to create their own improvised landscape. A virtual heaven or hell, or maybe both at once – a society.
Simulated AI people – ‘peeps’, as Yang calls them – move around naked, alone or in crowds. The seedlings they plant grow into suggestive ‘trees’ that periodically bear fruit – and it’s then for the peeps to decide whether to eat the fruit and transform themselves, or to destroy what they’ve just created.
Free to play, We Dwell in Possibility is the latest new world anticipating the kind of work that will soon be created, produced and presented at The Factory.”
…..the levels of over-indulged privilege involved in this and many other items at this Festival are appallingly gross. There appears to be a desperate need to be ‘different’ and ‘avant garde’ ‘futuristic’ which in this case has created a dreadful mishmash of incongruous confusions. It’s a videogame simulation bigged up as being ‘the latest new world’ in ‘the Virtual Factory series’.
Is this much more than a toy; and an expensive and navel-gazing one at that?
“Big Ben has quit Westminster and come to Manchester – to give itself to us, the people.
Come to Piccadilly Gardens to explore a monumental new work of art: a colossal 42m replica of Big Ben. Lying almost horizontal and covered in 20,000 copies of books that have shaped British politics, this temporary landmark will inspire new conversations about what we value – conversations drawing from Manchester’s unique and independent spirit.
Installed in the heart of the city throughout MIF21, this vast artwork will be free to see. Then at the end of the Festival, come back to watch a ceremony in which Big Ben will be taken apart – and take home a book for free.
Big Ben Lying Down with Political Books is the first major UK commission by Argentine artist Marta Minujín, who creates extraordinary large-scale artworks and participatory performances that put socially engaged art at the heart of everyday life. The latest instalment in her series The Fall of Universal Myths, Big Ben Lying Down with Political Books is a joyful invitation for us to reimagine our national symbols – and to unite around democracy and equality.”
This exhibit is described via an outrageously inflated title as being “ The latest instalment in her series The Fall of Universal Myths” and here is revealed an almost paranoid egotism at work in the maker of this item. The presumption seems to be that the maker by making and displaying these items is being instrumental in an unlimited destruction of large and long-lived beliefs and belief systems – which I am presuming she does not subscribe to.
The resources required so as to make such an exhibit beg the question how are such projects funded? From where does a person obtain such amounts of resources and income so as to be able to pay for the time materials efforts in making such things?
As for the ideas behind the object, what might be a ‘participatory performance’ in regard to it? The idea smacks of populism and of – once more – toying with, flirting with, an implanting ideas in others which in thrust are negative, and supplying nothing specific in the place of that negativity
“A giant puppet of a nine-year-old Syrian refugee girl is to “walk” from Turkey to the UK through villages, towns and cities for one of the most ambitious and complex public artworks ever attempted…….”
Where is the line between this kind of item said to be art, and circuses? Toys again. Populism again. The political choice of a nine year old Syrian girl refugee shows again again bad faith. The choice seems to me to have been made so as to show the chooser’s heart on the sleeve as much as it has been made to protest at the situation in the camps?
It’s a large gesture which is accomplishing little or nothing in comparison to the care and attention lavished on it having been lavished on real Syrian refugees in the flesh. This item is then ‘one of the most ambitious and complex public artworks ever attempted” - but words like these are so often used to describe so many and various items, as for them to have been devalued and have become base coinage.
They are the words of the advertising and marketing industry; which industry is vastly and bathetic ally confused into, and indistinguishable from, the commerce and business obsessions of our times; it is another industry, and one which in our times is labelled ‘the contemporary art world’.
In essence a making of claims which cannot be substantiated
“With the world watching and on a stage such as the Manchester International Festival, I do not only aim to introduce my ambition to create the largest portrait series of Black people in Britain ever taken before, but I will be asking a very important question to the world and leaving a very rich and diverse answer for generations to come, that is, ‘What does it actually mean to be Black?’. This is Portrait of Black Britain; this is me taking control of my narrative and asking other Black people to join me in the re-introduction of our presence and stories in the 21st century.”
Again a superlative - “the largest portrait series etc” - nothing it seems can be offered but it has to be a superlative – and the question “What does it actually mean to be Black?” is so unspecific and amorphous as to be empty of content.
My final observation on this Manchester Festival is to ask you to consider whereabouts, on what words in this sentence, do the emphases and stresses naturally fall? “This is Portrait of Black Britain; this is me taking control of my narrative and asking other Black people to join me in the re-introduction of our presence and stories in the 21st century.”
Would you call it self-referential? I continue.
There has been no equivalent fuss and protest in the streets about vaccine inoculation; and which has been in support of those peoples in undeveloped countries, as there has been allowed air-time and discussion and effort to right the wrongs of historical British colonialism, British slavery, British treatment of its non white ethnicities, British women, British religion, British non-heterosexuals; and include here also all and any of the usual issues which you may feel are just causes to be pursued. It remains without contest of argument that for the sake of those in undeveloped nations, pursuit of welfare, life chances, proper diet and sources of drinking water and irrigation supply, health, and other relief, together comprise a cause necessary for us to take up and remedy. It is for us to do this for the sake of those with lives about which we ourselves cannot, because we give their lives no thought, believe possible, or even dare to entertain the idea, could be our own lots, were it not for an accident of birth and of history to have been in our favours.
Instead as a nation we are hidebound by our own sense of ourselves and of our own deservings. We have charities too many, and those too many are mostly charities acting at home – i.e. in Britain. We have charities for the countryside, for endangered species, for reintroductions of species, for birds, for laying on entertainments, holidays, celebrations, for certain groups of us whom we consider deprived or disadvantaged; our charitable activities extend so far as to be positively luxurious in some respects, and most of these work at home, in Britain.
As for charitable assisting of the natural world, the fact is that it is human interference which has placed our countryside and its fauna and flora in any depleted state it might be in; and so to think that human activity is warranted so as to ‘get it back in shape’ somehow is to really compound the problem. The best way for the natural world to recover from us is for us to just leave it be.
Then there is the hollow patriotism indulged in by a lot of appeals for donations to charity; and which to my mind shows much of our charity not actually to be charitable at all. Too much of our charity begins at home, which itself is a dreadful adage; but worse; so much of it ends at home also, which is a terrible indictment of us.
We are looking to raise standards here in our nation for persons whom we deem in need of a raise upwards; when in fact standards for nearly all of us are incomparable to the standards in so many of the desolate parts of the world. And often it is not more money we need, nor more research and expansion of facilities; but instead some emotional or mental means to deal with a problem, a situation; even sometimes to be able just to accept a situation and live with it.
When one hears on a bulletin that such and such organisation or company or sector or institution is ‘lobbying the government for help’; and it’s a refrain we hear all the time, what does this mean, what does ‘help’ translate as being, but money? Money is a resort that is used to try to solve too many things. Money cannot in many circumstances buy a day extra of life; nor can it often supply the absence of a companion or a visitor, nor make up for the disappointment of a trust or a hope in or for another person. Money is useless in mending the human heart. Money offered aiming to do this, is reminiscent of Dickens’ character Snagsby who at the deathbed of crossing sweeper Joe is described as in pity putting down for Joe half crowns after half crowns on the table beside Joe’s bed, while Joe is giving his valedictory and pathetically generous in spirit final words.
Touching yes, humorous yes, because the sheer impotency of money is outed; but Snagsby’s misguided compassionate expression nonetheless does him honour – he means well.
Not so we. Our cry for help (money) is in desperation that money will make us OK again, set us back up, no matter what the downfall nor what the causes of our ills; and money is issued sometimes even when it is very likely that in a few weeks or months we shall be back down again.
We desire money so as to buy the time of people and thus employ them to go and visit others who themselves feel they are in some need; thus buying time of people who have no connection with their visitants, and who visit for money’s sake, and their visits are ‘a job’ to them; and all because those who ought to visit them and supply that need, do not visit and do not supply that need. Thus we let ‘off the hook’ those who should be stigmatised; by us doing what they should do (and we do it as our trade). And would not the visitants themselves much rather prefer to see those who ought to be there visiting and instead of hired help? Where the state simply substitutes provision in such cases of care, the state is storing up trouble for the future; social and political, moral and behavioural trouble.
A longish digression? Not so. The Covid 19 problem has shown widely and clearly the fact of many of us being of a dependent and an anxious nature, about our health, and about its protections, in our day to day lives. Anxiety and dependency has been shown prevalently to be focussed on concerns such as banishing as many germs as can be done away with from as much of the environment one subsists within.
Contact with items unprocessed, and/or unregulated by humans, official or corporate, for a long time now, many decades, has been growing more and more of a taboo in and for our society.
Pharmacies abound stocking for the most part items which appeal to this desire for distancing ourselves from what persons had contentedly lived with some half a century back, and for long before that also. There are stocked a great variety of self-testing kits, from blood pressure to AIDS, taking in Covid and pregnancy on the way. There are stocked huge varieties of foot treatment options; of hair and complexion refreshers, tonics, growth, and blemish controls. Toothbrushes are in broad variety and have a pecking order of an unbranded manual brush up to a so called hi tech brush, one having guarantees to pick out 50% more lodged food and other stuffs from between teeth. 50% more than what or whom is rarely offered in the sales talk.
A vast array of shampoos each having an angle of sale peculiar to it; Germans use it; contains keratin; salons prefer it; lathers up best; kills dandruff at 50 yards; softens, enlivens, gives a sheen to hair; makes hair behave itself; ahhhhhhhhh…
Our love affair with ourselves has turned to neurosis...
Now back to our central theme of a permanent state of debility
I’ve said enough. Add to this fantastic array the pitches in the advertising world for germ free kitchens, bathrooms, lavatories, especially when another person has just been there and used it before you, even from your own family. Duration of protection is often a selling feature. Fancy smells for the home help one feel good; and sometimes claim to fumigate. Air fresheners humidifiers, ionisers, isotonics, smart water, vitamin and health drinks and bars ahhhhh……
With this kind of attention to the detail of protecting, coddling ourselves, being present and subsisting in our national backstory, is it a surprise to find that Covid 19 has brought out into the open and made even more rampant our latent hypochondrias, hyped up to a point of aggressive and highly sensitive desires to control others re the hygiene situation, and sometimes bordering over into point blank controlling behaviour for its own sake? We see it all around us.
I saw in a health organisation this week a notice which said – I am not altering the notice at all – it said: “CCTV in action: keep 2 metres apart”. One could have gotten away with that as a smart satirical witticism on TV on a Saturday night comic show. I have seen public benches tied with brilliant yellow and black hazard tape so as to prevent shoppers sitting on them – as if they were radioactive – as if sitting on them were going to make a difference to one’s health.
Comically I saw a jacket potato seller and his portable oven having a few what looked like yellow and red traffic cones set up willy-nilly around his pitch; as if the guy was not really committed to the Covid narrative but was happy to go through the expected motions so as to put at ease his customers’ minds. And it worked for him – he had a big queue – no-one cared, nor some perhaps saw his getup for what it was?
A large portion of the nation has gone lunatic– being assured they are not infected and that anyone approaching near to them is. It is extremely tiresome.
The storyline then for Covid – let’s continue with our second point of the four - which is that the lesser known viruses are generally less commonly active in our country than is flu virus. Think about how many persons visit a doctor with the symptoms of a viral infection which the doctor does not put a name to, nor does the doctor attempt a specific determination of what virus in fact it is in any such cases
Medicine has terms for such collective treatment of groups of varieties of related disorders. Non-specific urethritis (NSU) may be one term you’ve come across? ‘Mixed debris’ is a similar collective medical term.
Fungal infections are another item; as are infections for which broad spectrum antibiotics are dispensed. Viral infections I know from my own experience are similarly handled, or rather, recognised. So let alone no figures being available, broadly speaking not even specific names of and numbers of cases of varieties of viral infection are kept or on record, and to have had records would have been a basis for making statistics on the cases.
People get viruses all the time. Most recover; some perhaps die? Flu is generally always widespread seasonally, and is early identified; and this widespread range means more illness and death is correctly attributable to its action. It seems for Covid 19 in these regards pretty much similar.
The Scots have a saying: “Many a mickle makes a muckle” which is to say “Many small things make a big thing”. Is it possible that the many non-specific diagnoses on the groups of lesser known viruses, and the consequences on our health of the sum of these collective groups of viruses which infect us, might be in the same league of magnitude as to have produced comparable attrition levels to those we have experienced from, and have attributed to, Covid? A question worth getting answered.
The next item about present, but lesser-known, viruses in developed nations, why they are not fussed about in the way flu and COVID are and have been, was that “they are not in the limelight, in the way flu becomes every autumn”
Now I am not advocating that were we to ignore COVID (or even flu) it would just ‘go away’ and no longer be an issue for us. I am advocating that our tendencies to navel-gaze, especially about our wellbeing, and in our habit of using bad faith, in our government-led and business-led, hyped social solicitations towards one another, these being ever “for us” as a crowd; about our oversupplied and over demanded emotional and physical “comforters”, being arrays of products and services; about ourselves and our ever demanding “our rights”, being our protests against this and that which we feel are, or have been, injustices to ourselves, and to peoples of our special kinds; and about our hypochondrias as often being expressed in a fear of nature (of bacteria, germs, etc, and in our desiring only pre-packaged, irradiated, neutral atmosphere, foodstuffs etc) – all these and more have been collected together and are continuing to be a contribution enormously, and enormously negative, upon our responses, nay on our (gut?) reactions, to this COVID event.
Their collective psychical contribution upon us has exacerbated our fear and trembling about COVID; and added to this there are the media and government and public services (and also many intrusive private companies) all pitching in so as to “attempt to save us” by scaring us away from living life, and by them harping continually upon about how terrible and fearful the illness is for us.
Lesser known and less frequently noted-in-action viruses then, are threats, for nearly all of us they are each (horror of horrors!) an unknown quantity; yet these characteristics they possess for us are not causing them to be for us massive stumbling blocks to our being able to live ordinary lives. It’s a plain case of ‘out of sight out of mind’. Were any of them to hit the headlines, and perhaps doing so for reasons accidental to any true threat which might be present in their presence, I am sure our media and government, our businesses and our vigilante elements, plus Uncle Tom Cobbly, could very soon, should they see advantage in doing so, be able to raise Cain in our minds and hearts about the evils and the dangers of contracting such infections.
The governance of our feelings then is being carried on more and more by means of instilling in us fears; most popularly these are presented as fears of unknowns; and so much of the news and comments being aired, and their statistics and figures, and the styles of the presentation of news on any adverse or “potentially worrying” events or occurrences, and even also of expected or likely or possible events not yet having occurred, sometimes not going to occur; in bulk all these ingredients rustle up for us a powerful brouhaha which acts to paralyse much of our critical faculty, and many of our capabilities to function to boot.
But for the present they are not in the limelight of the public scarifying machines of our time.
Not in the limelight: so no money in them. No money in them; so not in the limelight
There is a huge issue about the general levels of freedom which people in Britain historically have taken as givens, and which have been closed down because of the fear and trembling stirred up wholesale by the avalanche of data, of advertising, of signage of warning, and by a generally restrictive atmosphere. Such a barrage of warning and scarifying has resulted in people here in Britain beginning to police themselves; which is to say, every business large or small, every person with a position of superintendence over others within their employ or organisation, has issued a ream of designate commands and rules and regulations, which have been taken by those to whom they have been issued, to allow them to roll them out after their own conceived fashions.
As a result so many jerkings around of customers, pedestrians, browsers, shoppers, enquirers, users of public facilities e.g. benches, toilets, pavements, have been set down as were the laws of the Kings of Babylon, never to be rescinded, and in addition, are often to no purpose which might further public protection or safety from catching Covid.
There has been a jamboree of ‘taking back control’ of our nation, especially by those among us who get some sort of buzz out of pushing around others in the name of public health and hygiene. The armoury used has been a sort of leaning on a person and applying the tortures of ‘so many ill and dying’ and ‘everyone should consider the broader public safety’ and ‘you’re a betrayer if you step out of line’ and ‘it’s all for your good’; in a campaign attempt to knock the spirit out of people and to bring us all to heel, so that we obey any whim or fickle command when it is given in the name of Covid.
Many instances I have heard of from friends and some I have myself witnessed, would appear ludicrous and laughable in a TV sitcom, for which they are the right type of material; but in actual life and in their persistence and their great number only cumulate so to give rise to despair and anger. The underlying presumption, I am making a guess, is that those people who follow such ludicrous courses of action, either by instantiating them, or by obeying them without any compunction and willingly, are under an illusion that when one’s life is regimented and put in a box and tidied neatly by an avalanche of sundry pointless commands and restrictions, it is under such conditions that such items as illness and infections cannot get at you.
In other words it’s a sort of superstition aimed at propitiating the beast of pandemic, whom one cannot see or know where she is to strike next, nor when. The whole panjandrum is an attempt at an exercise of magic; allay the unknown, sacrifice a quality of life and all will be well.
For myself, speaking personally, and apart from meeting annoying people here and there, I have not been inconvenienced in my quality of life much at all during the past couple of years. I am a home bird. I rarely travel more than 30 miles beyond my home. I don’t normally go to cinemas or sports facilities. Most of my best days are spent here in my room, or in looking after my family and the house and garden. But I guess I’m not typical – and perhaps you’d say I should get out more?
I was listening to a friend recently talking to me about how he did not tend to worry in the way he used to in his younger days. He said that he aimed to live in the present, and in that way he had found that he was best prepared for whatever events and situations arose and which he was obliged to deal with and to negotiate. He also commented that he felt that spending time, and he said ‘fruitlessly’ worrying about the past or the future, merely ‘took up thinking space’ and so acted to impair what he was able to do to meet the contingencies of the day from day to day. I guess that’s a study to emulate.
He added that “time and chance happeneth to all” as The Preacher says in The Book of Ecclesiastes.
Yes of course there are actions we as a society can do and provisions we can make and precautions; all of which, when they are to the point and not just wayward magic spell casting, are able to contribute to our collective wellbeing and health, our security, our joy in life.
(I do not discount prayer as being a proper option, because is not an exercise of magic; it is a healing event, whether or not you believe God hears; but is such an event most especially when you do believe God hears. For myself God is a given for our state of existence, and I consider persons who say they deny the being of God, that they are not seeing the event of existence as it is – as a breathtaking phenomenon beyond wonder and more than astounding.)
But to make a fetish or a shibboleth about putting in place and preparing legion and wanton safeguards and means to cope or to manage is to divert one’s concentration and purpose from the goals of those protections; which are to allow us all life, liberty and a portion of mortal happiness.
What has happened in so many ways however has been that the mass public agonising promoted and saturating our airwaves, our press, and our minds; the neuritic and obsessive following and retailing of figures and updates, of up trends and down trends, of dark and unpropitious nay-saying opinion, the prospectors of which who go forwards in time and there dig up bodies not yet dead and presently in perfect health – all this is itself constitutes an illness and shows the symptoms of illness.
In effect and in this way we have closed down our minds, and allowed others who claim to know and have the truth, to be our directors. These directors themselves are no less in the dark about the future than are any of us. The net result has been that we have given away some of our responsibility for ourselves, and some of that also that we owe to ourselves, into the hands of government briefers and science digital retailers, into the hands of the media persons whose bread and butter is to keep an audience hooked, even by hopping up the octane of the news and climate, and so make the dependence thus created of a public last as long as the public will go along with the idea of ‘this is all being done for the public good’.
These outfits, government, science, scientists, statisticians, media people; none of them will or can save you. You are far more likely than are these to save yourself from dangers and life threats; and to do so by taking the precautions and safeguards you yourself have thought through and have decided are the right paths of action. None of us is able even to substantiate that that which is being served up to us is bona fide and anywhere close to being what actually occurs or is the case. Ask yourself: persons who daily spend their days providing information to others, whom they know are unable to do anything else but to accept that information prima facie as truth, or else to be doubtful; and who can never establish their doubt on, or the truth of, that material for themselves; is there not here great temptation to those providers to embellish, to steer, to inveigle, to exaggerate, to omit, to present in a certain light, and so on, that information of which they are the sole arbiters of its veracity? Either as a collective, or as an individual; maybe consciously or perhaps less than consciously? Even again, in good faith, and with a belief in the public good? Can these types not deceive themselves as well as does the next person? Would you not rather risk being deceived by yourself than be in probable danger of being hoodwinked by another’s self deceptions?
Here we are then, in a state of permanent debility. Some of us, perfectly physically healthy, and the mentors of children who are perfectly physically healthy, are in such a state of perplexed anxiety as to be of no use to themselves, their families, their children; and actually are doing damage to young minds, possibly making them afraid of such innocent activities as a walk in the woods or a swing on a tyre on a tree. My son remarked to me just now and puzzled saying how when he has sat a for a few hours on a chair at a club he attends, the chair is cleaned by a cleaner. What amount of joie de vivre is being wiped away with that same damp disinfectant drenched cloth? What anxious worry is being implanted in minds which witness where they have just been sat being clinically neutralised – and of what? Of the organisms which men women and children have lived with, alongside, for millennia.
The net effect of this association between people and the rest of the Creation has been continuance of the human species. To date we have not died out as a result of a plenary universal catastrophe. It seems, for ourselves as a race, nature works and preserves. We must not divorce further from nature, nor consider nature an inveterate enemy. Otherwise we can only hide away in our technology and science, enjoying comfort in the fallacy that technology and science do not depend upon, nor bring us, in the final instance, and in the longer term, back face to face with nature.