‘We are all going to die.’ Uplifting, no? Is that buzzing sound positivity zinging through your veins? Oh right, it’s just buzzing. Moving on. Reading affirmations of mortality is shocking, yet hearing it being yelled on an aeroplane by a friend laughing his head off as we try to ‘land’ in horrendous weather will stay with me for eternity. And yes, if you’re wondering, I peeled them off and threw them away afterwards, they were just too soiled to be recoverable.
The truth in the above however has nothing whatsoever to do with the current climate (apart from the buzzing, that’s got plenty to do with it). Our impermanence is inevitable. Far from being negative though, this should be a release, an unbridling of inhibitions that sets you free from restraint. You can do anything! Apart from meet people, or hold hands, or drink in a pub. But anything else! Wearing trackies for weeks at a time? Having a shower once a month whether you need it or not? Live that dream! COVID has launched a resurgence of self-improvement, of people rekindling simple loves like drawing, fitness, reading books you didn’t even know you owned, helping neighbours by giving back all that shit you borrowed over the years. We’re also spending more time with family and making sure we get valuable exercise outside. Naysayers may point to those two being interrelated, reminiscent of Captain Oates’ “I may be some time” and just never returning.
The outpouring of emotion seen across the world, the ‘we’re in this together’ pact is wonderful, albeit mostly ‘together’ in the same house. Far from shutting down, we have become a more caring race, showing compassion and empathy. Well apart from this guy, who remains an epic weapon. For every buck-toothed dribbling baboon of a President there is a counter-balance such as leaders we most want running our own country like Jacinda Ardern and legends like Colonel Tom Moore, fundraising at one hundred years old to raise £30million for the NHS. Let’s put aside the fact he’s raising money for a nationally funded entity bereft of cash, equipment, adequate testing or adequately paid staff, and instead concentrate on the fact he’s captured the hearts and minds worldwide. Leading through example, even at a hundred.
I’ll end with this, from the ludicrously good Sam Harris’ End of Faith which inspired this blog post:
“Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person you will pass in the street today (within social distancing guidelines), is going to die. Living long enough, each will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”
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