A Public Diary During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Day 19

A fabric “Sunflower” I created back in September, shared here for inspiration for more creative endeavors to come…

What will the imprint of this time period mean for the children of the world? It will be different for every kid of course. Especially given what that kids circumstances are like. If they have a large, spacious home, plenty of food to eat, a kind and loving environment to feel safe in, and the means to not experience much more hardship than the isolation situation that is one thing. But the spectrum from this scenario presented as opposed to living outside, homeless, alone save for the one parent/guardian figure, or maybe none at all, scrapping by is the far other end of this scenario playing out. And then there is everything in between. What will the be like for them in the coming years? There is no frame of reference for this, similarities are there, but not for all children to be experiencing this together across the globe.

I am grateful to know that our son is in a loving home with his essential needs met. To him this so far is probably much like a dream come true, having us both around while he lives mostly carefree, and mostly naked, through this portion of the journey at least. He does miss his sister though. So do I…

At this point, there is no clear conclusion as to how this is going to play out, here in the US, or anywhere really. Right now, from where I sit, things in the world still have some semblance of being held together, food is still in the stores, phones and the internet still work fine, money is still worth something, the heat and electricity are still flowing, and society, civilization as it has been known, appears to continue to be what it was. That is the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all mind you. When I made my way to the grocery store a few days ago there were still homeless folks posted up outside with their cardboard signs, silently, stoically, begging for help. That part hadn’t changed yet either.

I’m really trying to wrap my brain around the notion of 10 million people filing for unemployment in the last two weeks, which, on a line chart, matches up with representational line of the skyrocketing trajectory of cases of COVID-19 here in the US as well. And both these charts are going to shoot up much, much higher in the coming days and weeks. And then what? Things cannot possibly go back to the way they were, that seems clear at this point, but really, what is it going to look like after this all comes to its conclusion?

Whoa. Source: Oxford Economics/Haver Analytics
Double Whoa. Source: Johns Hopkins University & CNBC graphic

Meanwhile, as we are still very much in the thick of it, New York City, mayor Bill De Blasio said that this coming Sunday is D-Day, the day the city runs out of ventilators, a day that will not be the peak of need for these ventilators by any means. That means the scene in NYC is not going to be pretty next week. Or the week after. Because the timeframe of infection to severe symptoms is 8–10 days or so, and that city is packed like sardines, the peak of infections is probably still a week or two away, maybe longer.

What does this tell you? Source: Washington Times

And then there is the map of the country showing where the social distancing and stay at home measures have been put in effect, along with actual figures of how far individual movements have been over the course of March. You can see from it that there are clearly defined areas and regions where people took the necessary precautions and then the ones who have not. This all means that then waves, spikes, surges, and peaks of the pandemic are going to play out over the next month or more before we even get a handle on things. At least, ideally, hopefully we will get a handle on things…

And all of this has so many consequences and repercussions. The death, the loss of life that will be directly connected to this pandemic is significant. It is true that people die from so many tragic things in this world every day. Some more avoidable than others, like hunger, or access to clean drinking water. And I do not wish to discredit the myriad of ways that people die that can be avoided or prevented in many circumstances, I just feel here and now that addressing this pandemic and what is to happen from this point on, is what I’m processing at present.

But all things are connected, they always are. We have this time and space to look at all the ways people die and get sick and as the pandemic subsides, we can explore measures and take actions that can mitigate the massive injustices that lead to death by lack of food or water, lack of access to healthcare, shelter, and basic needed resources. Resources. I’ve brought up the prospect of a Resource Based Economy, a way of operating in this world where everyones basic needs are met and we move away from money as we know it. It can seem like a radical and far out concept that would be possible to implement but I believe otherwise. And really, now is the time for the ideas that have seemed radical and/or impossible to come into the light and be given their opportunity to shine. Why not?

Regardless of how the cards fall, it seems pretty evident that living more locally, building and sustaining community resilience, and practicing mutual aid and teaching basic survival skills and other essential homesteading skills is going to be necessary. I don’t imagine the consumer culture of yore can come back, nor do I believe we could come close to reestablishing the service economy that became the main source of income for the masses. And what is to become of the creative industry? All the marketing and advertising folks out there whose jobs were based on getting people to buy more stuff, to consume well above and beyond what they actually need. The free market economy, based on supply and demand, and finite resources. All these things that don’t make much sense anymore, if they ever made that much sense in the first place. It reminds me of The Story of Stuff. I’ll share it below. If you haven’t seen it before it is tremendously helpful to understand what has happened in our world and why things are so out of whack and unsustainable. There are numerous videos that help paint the picture of what is going on in our world which I recommend checking out.

I realize that every day now, I end up finding myself coming back around to these topics of capitalism and the systemic, fundamental flaws that have been and became the foundations of our human storyline. And focusing on environmental justice and sustainability. There have been activists from every part of the world working to dismantle these systems of oppression and environmental degradation, in some ways, successfully, in most ways, not so much. But here we are, at this incredible tipping point. Where things are breaking down all around us, the catalyst finally coming from a virus which is putting all things into perspective. That is encouraging. Not all the death that is coming from it but certainly the destruction of the way things were. That also is going to have severe repercussions but as the dust settles, the opportunity for consciously creating new systems is ripe. We’re primed for new processes, new paradigms, new collective, collaborative, and considerate groups of people coming together to make the needed changes.

A big first step in all of this is dismantling the hierarchy of leadership. Leadership can be shared by all. Empowering everyone to be a part of the solution is what is needed. An equitably distributed situation where responsibilities are shared and spread out amongst all who wish to be of service, that is what I welcome. We all have roles to play. We all have passions, creativity, and abilities to bring to the table. We are a living, breathing cornucopia of possibilities, ready to be manifest in magnificent ways. Is this preposterous to imagine or believe? No, decidedly it is not. We are capable of bringing this vision to fruition.

Well, this is where my thoughts are at. And this is what I believe, in spite of the reality that is displaying quite the opposite from the current positions of leadership in our country. That Jared Kushner, Trumps son-in-law is heading the pandemic response situation is outrageously dangerous, and borderline criminal. Celebrity culture in a time of social isolation is revealing further the absurdity of our inequality here in the US. Queen Elizabeth gave a coronavirus update to the masses, so you know, we still have a queen in the world to help us feel safe and informed. The stock market is still teetering around some semblance of “normalcy” though it would be the greatest magic trick of all to think it isn’t going to catastrophically collapse at some point during this global crisis.

And here I find myself a day or two away from a third week in near complete isolation with my wife and son. I haven’t seen my daughter in all this time besides on video chats, and she is a mere two or three miles away. This situation is difficult and I don’t know how we are going to all get through this without completely losing it. To consider that we have essentially, at the very least another four weeks of this isolation situation is super difficult to make peace with. I want to hug my daughter. I would very much like to be in physical spaces with friends and family and the natural world beyond our neighborhood. And I really do hope (is that the right word? Hope seems so fleeting and insubstantial, maybe it would be better to wish or pray?) that we get through this particular period without a collapse that truly turns apocalyptic. I feel as though we can get out of this in a better way, but it is going to have to take a great deal of gumption, a regular healthy dose of gratitude for all that we do have, and groups of humans across the globe supporting one another as compassionately, calmly, and kindly as they can as we each in turn go through our own breakdowns and rebuilding periods. But it might get mighty messy before that can happen.

That is all for now. This is not easy, riding the waves of this crisis in real time. Take it easy on yourselves, folks. Nobody has any clear idea how to do this properly. And no one has really figured out how best to live out this thing we call life in the first place. We are all making it up as we go. We have an illusion of control. This reality is a dance of chaos and the cosmos swirling and spiraling together towards what many understand to be a unifying point of unification. We shall see…

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Writer, podcaster, international public speaker, Theater of the Oppressed actor, and lover of this precious intrinsically connected world we are all a part of.

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Joe Culhane

Joe Culhane

Writer, podcaster, international public speaker, Theater of the Oppressed actor, and lover of this precious intrinsically connected world we are all a part of.

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