In her Wall Street Journal column, Peggy Noonan opines about how the “protected” don’t have to worry about the consequences of economic shutdowns.
“…Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in charge—scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants—calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist won’t lose his livelihood over what’s happened. Neither will the midday anchor. I’ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. …“
[In late 1968]…the Hong Kong Flu was sweeping through the country, eventually killing around 100,000 Americans, most of them over the age of 65, at a time when the United States had more than 100 million fewer people than it does today.
Life went on as usual. Schools, churches, and businesses remained open. Neighbors held backyard barbeques, Scout troops continued meeting, we shook hands and shared hugs
When we compare ourselves to the British who endured the torments of the Blitz or to the Americans who seemed almost oblivious to the Hong Kong Flu, why are we so terrified of this virus?
The empericist in me celebrates the conclusions.
The intuitive part of me bears witness that we already knew this; either innately or by the collective awareness of unambiguous testimony throughout centuries of recorded history.
Things to ponder:
Why did this TED talk resemble a funeral eulogy of a life well lived, or life lessons backed up by scripture so often repeated by the pastor on Sunday mornings?
Because it’s true!
And it’s true regardless of how we know it; whether it be within the spark of creation or the instantaneous awareness of collective knowledge.
Now, will we act as if we believe the truth we acknowledge?
“The proliferation of digital technology has created an interesting paradox: devices that were designed to connect people have coincided with increasing rates of isolation, with nearly half of Americans reporting feelings of loneliness. Gen Z, the generation that has grown up immersed in a culture of communication technology, has fared the worst.
It turns out that this paradox of isolation and connection is nothing new. Fyodor Dostoevsky observed a similar trend in his own day. In Dostoevsky’s work, Brothers Karamazov, Father Zosima describes the isolation of Russian society in the late 1800s: “We are assured that the world is becoming more and more united, is formed into brotherly communion, by the shortening of distances, by transmitting of thoughts through air.”
Do not believe them, he tells us. According to Dostoevsky, the seeming connectedness of Russia at the time was only a thin veneer covering the reality of a deeply isolated and lonely society. Another character in the book explains:”
[Isolation is] that which is now reigning everywhere, especially in our age… For everyone now strives most of all to separate his person, wishing to experience the fullness of life within himself, and yet what comes of all his efforts is not the fullness of life but full suicide, for instead of the fullness of self-definition, they fall into complete isolation. For all men in our age are separated into units, each seeks seclusion in his own hole, each withdraws from the others, hides himself, and hides what he has, and ends by pushing himself away from people and pushing people away from himself….
And all the people said…Amen!
We spend most of our lives not truly living at all but shoring up goods for some time in the future when we can enjoy them—which never comes, since we have incapacitated ourselves from enjoying the present. It’s no wonder that our waking hours are often filled with care and anxiety, rarely with serenity.