My apologies in advance as my new site is down for maintenance and I wanted to get this out in the meantime. I keep hearing this perpetual mantra of “returning to normal” or even some “new normal”…but I´d like to bring-up something that likely a lot of you, including me, might not want to hear, nor have let it cross your mind. What if this is the new normal. Right now. This. The current. What if we are now living in forward-time waiting for a sense of old normalcy that will never return and we have subtly, almost imperceptibly, moved into what will be in time be considered the new normal…or infinitely waiting for our awaited new normal while this has long since become so. A sense of stasis, police-state, solitary-confinement where lockdowns, restrictions, curfews, quarantines ARE that new normalcy. Settling, accepting, defaulting. A slow-moving trajectory of progress almost un-intuited by the “naked eye.”
I so often hear people talking of one or the other: either that this is all one big conspiracy (“normal” never changed) or that the virus is very real and quite tangible (waiting on that new normal), but these are not exclusive and nothing exists in a vacuum. They can both simultaneously be true. Here, we just received warning that a new wave was predicted shortly. Coincidentally, this is supposed to occur during or shortly thereafter “Semana Santa”, or what is considered holy week here, where people get-together with family, loved ones, and trust-circles over the week to celebrate, well, whatever it is you choose to celebrate. So there is inevitably no proof, scientifically or via study, that there will be any spike – outside of the governmental concern for civilians not listening to protocols and going-out (somewhat legit, but…). That might be justifiable – dictating populace-action to lower spread via fear-mongering and repercussion – or it might not be. I´m not here to opine either way. But it does bring up some very interesting future conundrums.
What if the new normal contains the government at whatever point of choosing and for whatever reason – political-tactics at coming election, to control or calm citizen-dissent or dissatisfaction, to implement new laws as a by-product of growing consternation over any number of current occurrences by having a new template for mass population-behavior, to incorporate growing military or police presence or boundary over-stepping – by utilizing these lockdowns, restrictions, quarantines, curfews for other reasons with upcoming viral-threats, real or imagined…or implanted. Let´s be real, it´s one year in and these are now talks that we SHOULD be having – the repercussions and bilateral effects of all this. I´d like it to be made clear while writing this that I still wear a mask, I still social-distance, I still adhere to protocols…as I said, these 2 are not exclusive and this is not an article on conspiracy.
Let´s take a look at some of the collateral-results of the last year. I´ll use my own life as a template and example. My circle of trust has grown exponentially-smaller over time and continues to do so. My projects are with people within that circle, generally away from mainstream social-media, and I have kept them relatively quiet. My future-plans have taken a stark detour by necessity as survival – indefinite survival – becomes my existing and ongoing norm, not in wait for some “new normal.” This is my normal. I am not waiting for anything. Sudden directional-changes, altering future-expectation, rationing, predicting resource-alterations as they increase or decrease, minimizing. The bubble has gotten smaller-and-smaller and there´s really (really) no end in-sight. The vaccinations are continually flubbed or backlogged. People have stopped checking numbers and analyzing data. Poverty, hunger, indigence, homelessness, struggle surround. We are inevitably trapped in the monotony of a day-to-day rinse-and-repeat cycle, akin to Groundhog Day and, similarly, with the idea some end or positive outcome will arrive if we repeat that day to its most effective conclusion. Time. Time has become of the essence while sitting here battling Groundhog Day.
Dreams, future-plans, savings – the things that essentially give us hope, something to work towards, goals, motivation, striving-towards – have been put on the back-burner, shelved, waylaid, hell, eliminated, sometimes out of necessity for current survival, sometimes out of a will to believe they´ll re-enter mainstream thought after a time, sometimes obliterated from circumstance. A global-shift has been made to virtual over presential so subtly we haven´t even noticed it become regular. Human personal- or physical-interaction slowly diminished and often unneeded. A growing reliance on social-media, acceptance, entitlement, speed, instant accessibility, (we´ll term it…) voluntary-tribalism, and gratification. Misinformation and fake news being accepted as par-for-the-course. Media dictating what we should think, feel, buy, believe. Fear, anxiety, impulse, tension, stress, insecurity, unknowing, unpredicting. Bombarded by useless and utterly-meaningless information. More plugged-in to tech. Less need for communication, interaction, proxemics, reading, state, learning replaced by models, templates, cookie-cutters, formulas, equations, data. Instincts and intuition dulling or misfiring. Touching and laughter and connection falling by the wayside. A.I. predicting what we need and want at a fingertips´ notice. It´s all just temporary until the status-quo returns, at least in some semblance of recognizance, right…
Even on a micro-level, we are settling. For temp-jobs we´re not long-term satisfied with to ride the storm out. Stocking-up on resources that are unnecessary. Believing that we are only temporarily altering long-term life-goals. Holding-off buying things that will make our lives easier. Halting moves with greater opportunities. Stunting our children´s imperative trait-development and social-development in the meanwhile. Open-ended projects because, who knows what will happen and we have indefinite periods of void to achieve them.
Massive societal-change, contrary to popular-belief, does not occur with one big event altering the fabric of modern-living. (And I state this confidently in the midst of a massive societal-level event, acknowledging the irony and brashness) Quite the contrary. It is altered long-term almost imperceptibly, subtly, gradually, innocuously. Frog in boiling water. Little-by-little and while we “wait for that new-normal” to assuredly arrive. Whether because of vaccination. By a loosening of governmental-control. By numbers decreasing. Mortality lowering. Masks and distancing being alleviated. Businesses and industries and economic sectors re-opening. People going out to social-events and activities again.
I often wonder, however, what if the next pandemic were to come immediately after this one “subsides.” What would happen. How would we manage – or would we. Would this be steeled-in as the new norm under our noses with the view that we might not even notice. Would this be the breaking-point for a huge volume of vulnerable people, more so than the virus could ever account-for. While we are stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle of monotony – remember that technology, advancement, and evolution move forward, with or without us. Virus or not. Legit or not. AND there are societal repercussions that will be felt in a heavy, life-altering way even if everything up ‘til now that has transpired is 100% legitimate and authentic.
That uneasy feeling that I have now is multi-fold: isolation, disconnect, repetition, and an eery feeling that this may already the new normal that we are always awaiting with such hopefulness. What would that look like to you? In the here-and-now? Is it acceptable? Would you be prepared to live the way you currently are this very minute for a literally indefinite period of time? Could you? What if survivalism is replaced with simply attrition? Survival IS actually your ability to just indefinitely tolerate the very way we’ve lived the past year, for many of us for the remainder of what´s left of life. There is nothing else coming. Stark and bleak, no…
What if we will have more pandemics (whether legitimate as I have seen predicted or feigned pandemic strategies and run-off for ulterior motive), governmental-templates as to how now to control masses and align populations for purpose, or long(long)-term repercussions of this one that snowball into very different global-national-regional crises that reverberate for years. Are you or will you be prepared for altering long-term strategies and goals if so? Have you thought about it? Or are indignant and steadfast in that you´ll simply do whatever the hell you want whenever you want to…and what if that is simply not feasible or achievable? What then?
I have thought long and hard on this, noting that I am a realist, not a conspiratorialist. BUT, I can also see some things transpiring, or that will transpire, or could indeed transpire…that I don´t like. And right now my spider-sense is going off. Accepting the current state-of-things as any version of “normal” would be a gargantuan step-back for humanity even if the perception is of evolution and progress and moving-forward.
I´m not here for being a pessimist or to give black-outlook. I do, however, want you to think about how you want to live your life and maximize your (both short-term and long-term) happiness, question the things occurring around you, research-educate-inform yourself on what is actually transpiring and how you can best manipulate for quality-of-life within the “construct”, and…
Keep. Being. Human. Talk to people. Engage. Interact. Share. Fail. Be vulnerable. Communicate. Minimize time on social-media. Be empathetic and coherent on your circle´s state. AND, Jesus, quite talking about “the new normal” as if it´s some noticeable thing that we´ll actually see and perceive when and if it arrives. Stop waiting. Stop putting your life on-hold. Stop letting the powers-that-be dictate when you can go back to living as you´d like. You may be (as the powers-that-be tend to ensure) thoroughly disappointed or devastated and have wasted a ton of time in the process. Plan as if there won´t be any “new normal.” It´s a construct built by individuals or entities that are stalling, answerless, lost, confused, or on-hold and should have zero bearing on your state-of-mind. Drop the new normal and create your own contented normal. I have grown to believe that that phrase has been nothing short of an albatross around the neck of the average person.