The performance of “Apocalypse” and of “Salvation and deliverance” will be cancelled due to COVID19
Crisis and change
Things will not change drastically. Just because we have the COVID19 pandemia people will not suddenly become wiser, less stupid, less greedy or less lazy to think for themselves and to take well-reflected decisions. They will not suddenly turn into authoritarian leaders or followers either. Some may, but the majority won’t. A crisis may be the moment of change, but it does not happen automatically and inescapably like some people seem to think
- Crisis = everything we have ever feared will suddenly materialise
- Crisis = everything we have always hoped for will finally materialise
There is little logic in either of the above statements. Why should things that have not happened for decades or centuries, such as a more just society, a more sustainable mode of reproduction than the finance capitalism that we now have, suddenly become more likely to happen? Just because we have been living in relative confinement for a few weeks, the economy is slowed down and many of our usual reference points of social life – schools, universities, shops, cafés and restaurants, parties, etc. … are currently closed or not available for a while. What makes us think that ignorant people, selfish people, careless and greedy people will suddenly become angels of a new social order and organisation; one where everyone is happy to cooperate and support the others. These things are of course of key importance and I will always continue to pursue these aims: before COVID-19, during COVID-19 and after COVID-19. I just do not believe that any crisis can act as a “deus ex machina” – some outside force which will solve the unsolvable problem that we had been facing. Solutions lie within ourselves and they are mainly made of small step-by-step actions that will one day lead to qualitative change, sure, but the continuous step-by-step work cannot be replaced by a crisis moment of any kind.
The same is also true for the opposite. The fear of sudden deterioration, the fear of a sudden change for the worse in the form of more authoritarian state structures, more exploitation and more inhumanity in our lives. Why should a sudden and substantial increase in authoritarianism of our states happen now if it had not happened up to two or three weeks ago? Lockdown measures in themselves are NOT indicators for or symptoms of authoritarianism neither are they a symptom of an increase of authoritarianism. Governments which already were authoritarian before the COVID19 crisis will continue in this trajectory. Governments, heads of state and presidents will continue being what they were before, they will not suddenly become more or less of anything. The crisis can perhaps act as an eye opener for people who refused or could not see the reality as it was – and can only see it now in the light of the crisis.
This also holds true for the general population. People will not suddenly become more accepting of authoritarianism. The respect of the confinement measures and instructions DOES NOT make you a submissive person, it does not make you a coward as much as the non-respect of the measures does not make you a rebel or revolutionary or a saviour of the poor people who just follow authority. Non-respect of the measures does not make you a more independent thinker or individual, it just makes you more of a danger to others and to yourself.
All the talk of how this or that government is not respecting this or that – most of this is beside the point – written by people who either know better but write like this because it sells, or by people who now for the first time discover how our societies work (have worked) instead of the false picture they had of it and now attribute the perceived change to the crisis.
What is the educational lesson in all that? I think the lesson is that we, finally, need to focus on helping young people – and all learners – to become able to think for themselves, to develop their faculty for judgement, to learn to separate right from wrong, true from false, likely from unlikely, they must become able to judge media reports, understand statistics, understand research reports, assess what data can and cannot express., etc.
For example, understand that the numbers of deaths quoted daily does not mean that all those who died, died because of COVID19. In many countries all those tested positive for COVID19 and who die whether the death was causally linked to the virus or not are counted as deaths in the COVID19 statistics (similar to all those who die and who are smokers are counted in the statistics as death by smoking).
Or, another example, a sharp rise in the people tested positive for COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that there was a sharp rise in people infected on that day but just that there was a sharp rise in the number of tests carried out.
I would suggest we see to it that in future education develops the faculties of critical thinking, examining opinions, careful judgement, separating facts from opinion, etc. from an early age on, and that we change the curriculum and content of our education accordingly.
I also suggest that for the time being we take it easy, relax, and enjoy what this moment, outside the usual running of life, has to offer, even if there are material worries, and leave the more extreme scenarios, stories of catastrophe and apocalypse as well as of salvation, redemption and deliverance, to the books we read and to the films we watch.