you choose which battles you think are worth fighting, and this one is definitely a hill i’m willing to die on. eric weinstein have said; “the question isn’t how many lives got lost at this point, it’s how much life got lost.” it resonates with me. my sense is that the last two years has made the “semi-nihilists” increase in number, or maybe it’s just me recognizing their real nihilism that was there all along. “the new normal” with all its contradictions, failures and division, makes finding real people, with real feelings, opinions, ideas, and a genuine connection to life itself, almost impossible. i find myself feeling a kind of sorrow, unease, a kind of alienation really, towards people who silently accept the middle ground, on all fronts. who just sit through every new’s broadcast, every press conference, every new requirement, every new curtail, and just say to themselves (and others); “this is the new normal. this is what we have to do… we can’t do anything else than persevere. hold our breath and wait for permission to live our life again…” i’m wondering who you are behind your mask? what questions do you ask yourself when left with your own thoughts? the people occupying the middle ground are also the first one’s to state, often in a weary way, that they just want everything to get back to normal again.…. all the while, silently, going along with something further and further away from “normal”. feeling a bit righteous for not making trouble, being the easygoing student who acts accordingly, respecting authority without any questions, trying hard to keep up with the narrative, telling the skeptics why misinformation is dangerous, and how we all have to just stand together, be compliant, persevere, just a little more, just a little more, just a little more… until you completely lose sense of the meaning of it all…and then, lose yourself.
everything unfolding the last two years is deeply philosophical. what is life? what is normal? what is a human being? if we dispense with the deeper questions, the questions that call on real connection, meaning, love of life, where do we end up? i think it’s very easy to get tangled up by our own fear. fear of recognizing, fear of asking the questions you don’t want the answers to, fear of life itself. it’s so much easier, a relief really, to let other people decide and tell you who you are. it can seem like you don’t have a choice in a worldwide emergency, you can rationalize and tell yourself that it’s just for a brief moment, but it never is. myopia makes it feel and look like an insignificant bargain, but you always have a choice. it’s like catch 22; in the end, you decide if you will die on your feet, or your knees.
you might think these thoughts are unfounded, now, in a moment where everybody is pleased to finally be saying, in an hopeful way: “…the pandemic is over. let’s get back to normal.” and maybe that is true, maybe the pandemic is over, in the most obvious sense of the word. but what unfolded the last two years; how much life got lost, what it has actually done to us, on a deeper level, is not over, at all. humans are not robots, humans are humans. we observe, perceive, recognize, discuss, think and feel. so, if you let yourself do that, be a human being, just for a brief moment; how do you think the world will change? how will we change? how will you change?
for the first time in my life, I earnestly question the democratic society to which i belong. a society where people state that they value their independence, their freedom and right to speak their mind, but when shit hits the fan, so many people, in a blink of an eye, give up their own freedom to think. and, like bret weinstein have said, with regards to this; it’s amazing how many people would prefer to coerce others than to tolerate the freedom of others in exchange for their own.
if you are reading this, you are not a child. you don’t need leaders to be your over-protecting mum, holding your hand through every little storm, providing you with safe spaces and permission to opt out of life’s pain and hardship. if you are an adult, you know that humans are anti-fragile, meaning we get stronger and more resilient when faced with all of life’s complexity. there is no justification to hide behind authority, cling dogmatically to whatever “frees” you of your adult responsibility. trust in authority should never be naive, then it’s a feeble trust. easily broken, easily corrupted. for it to be a long-lasting, robust trust, the willingness to dispute, be critical, ask questions, is crucial. you know this if you’ve ever experienced a relationship built on real trust. trust is something that should be earned, not something you are granted, only by your words, credentials, position or status.
unity in truth, and trust, is the highest value. coming together despite our differences must be of highest priority. but not by coercion, fear, silence, cowardice, indifference and nihilism. to me, much of what has unfolded the last two years, except maybe for the first two months of the pandemic, looks like fraudulent consensus. real consensus emerges organically. it is open to criticism and dissident views, and never forgets our common humanity – because the goal is actually truth. coerced consensus is the exact opposite. it punishes dissident viewpoints, justifies lies to get a desired outcome, simplifies the complex away from reality itself, encourages willful blindness and alienation of people who deviate from the mainstream narrative. because that is the only way coerced consensus can thrive.
if you are like me, born with the ability and freedom to think for yourself, you know fully well that the freedom to think for yourself comes with a burden. when you try to think, try to parse out what you see, recognize patterns, ask questions and try to make an informed decision based on that – you can be wrong. being wrong is painful, increased by the knowledge that it also requires taking responsibility for your own actions. no one to hide behind when the chaos unfolds. in the end, you will, if nothing else, die on your feet. along with others, who are maybe poles apart from you, in every regard, but you share the same stance to life. that is true unity.
you always have a choice.