Categories
Anthropology outbreaks shananapocalypse we know nothing

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: A Few Observations Amidst COVID-19/CoronaVirus Response and Reactions

I dive into the four horsemen metaphor at the end of this post but I think it is worthwhile to read everything in order to get there.

This is all unfolding at a pace that would have seemed impossible or ridiculous just a few days ago. Tens of thousands of people (maybe hundreds of thousands or millions) have already lost their jobs, though most of them probably don’t know it yet.

Airlines and cruise lines are shutting down. Casinos are shutting down. Movie theaters, restaurants, and bars are shutting down. Hotels are shutting down. At the moment, these are all temporary – but let’s face it – most businesses can’t survive a month or more without income. From where I sit, I can’t imagine this all being solved in a month.

The governments are printing money and will be handing out money to keep people from freaking out – they have to.  That process is going to make all of the money worth less than it was before. Prices will rise – not just from gouging, but because the cost of production will go up.

It seems to me that pretty much everyone is going to be exposed to this virus in one way or another. Those who become symptomatic (which I have no idea about a number, no one does) will seek treatment and most likely, there will not be enough beds/doctors etc.

We can’t all hide in our homes forever – so we are going to have to come out and interact with each other on some level – work, school, foraging, or just mental health.

I have no idea where this all goes, but it leaves things radically different than they were before. At the moment, it seems like we are trying to race the virus- come up with a way to defeat it before it defeats us – that might work if we can overcome the bureaucratic red tape around vaccine development and deployment – but it won’t really change anything about how people are forced to weather this thing.

But, let’s say that we don’t come up with a cure or the virus adapts after we do. What does the new society that comes out of this look like?

It seems to me that nature is forcing us to group together in smaller numbers and limiting the way that we are able to interact with one another. Maybe on some level, nature decided that letting humans easily move about from place to place covering large distances is a bad idea. Maybe the bottom line of all of this is that essentially, we are learning that ‘travel isn’t a good thing’.

Maybe this plays out by a large number of people dying and then small communities with immunity or with the disease wiped out within local borders, closing their doors to newcomers that might bring this (0r any) virus.

Is it worth it to conquer or control territory that might bring you the disease?

Maybe we are entering the age where the superpower and mega state loses control of our destiny. Maybe we are entering an era of local autonomy.

I don’t know…I’m simply watching like everyone else – and trying to put the potential pieces together in a way that makes sense.

I don’t think we are all going to die.

I think our countries and economies might already be dead.

I think capitalism might have just been dealt a death blow.

I think we are going to see a lot of elderly, homeless, and ill people heading into the great beyond.

I think that travel, tourism, and mass entertainment (sport, cinema, etc) might have just been given a choice to evolve or die.

I think monetary policy is on the verge of complete failure.

I think human beings are being given a choice about which direction they want to go now – and the choices are 1) End as a species or 2) Change everything

If we are to look at the classical progression of the end of the world, we can look at the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Death, Famine, War, and Conquest.

Horseman #1: Death:

We have started with death. This virus will run it’s course.

Horseman #2 Famine:

The result will be famine – a general lack of everything – and it wouldn’t surprise me if mother nature throws severe climate, storms, earthquakes and disasters on top of that.

Horseman #3 War:

Unfortunately – war will almost certainly follow. Politicians use war to preserve their power, to save economies, and to control resources for ‘their’ people. War is coming. On what level – we can’t know.

Horseman #4 Conquest:

Superpowers and nation states will do what they do. Strongmen will rise up and do what they do. They will try to use us to fulfill their ambitions. Ultimately they will fail.

Is there a way out? I don’ think so. If there is, it is to take away power from the large and to empower the small. Maybe that is what the lamb is all about. Decentralizing, focusing on municipality, commune, neighborhood, town – not on state, country or nation.

Metaphorically, I think the four horsemen of the apocalypse work – but I also think there is a metaphor built into the prophecy that gives us a way out. The lamb.

I’m not a religious person, I’m not saying everyone needs to find Jesus – I don’t believe that. I’m saying that there is a way to short circuit the four horsemen.

We need to embody the qualities of the lamb and the flock. Care for one another, be gentle, not over-graze, and stick together. The society of the lamb is a small group of people, they range in their pasture, they are not aggressive, and generally, they cannot be used for aggression.

Categories
outbreaks

CoronaVirus and You – COVID-19 and Hysterical Responses

I’m not an epidemiologist or a doctor, I don’t play one on TV. Pandemics and viruses are serious business – but it is my humble opinion that the current hysteria over the COVID-19 virus is waaaaaaaaay overblown. Yes, people are dying and more people will die – but looking at the numbers, this doesn’t seem to be all that deadly of a disease. As I write, 86,000 cases in a two month period – with nearly half of those having recovered and close to 3000 fatalities. That’s a 3.5% mortality rate – the vast majority of which contracted and died from the disease before there was any sort of understanding of what it was.

So, we have roughly 8 billion people on the planet – which means that if we lose 3% of them that still leaves way more than 7 billion people – sure 27 million could die by that calculation, but those are numbers. It seems that the majority of people who are dying are those who are a bit older – so they really probably only had a few more years to go.

Oops – sorry, forgot a zero. Actually it’s 227 million. But that still leaves 7 billion on Spaceship Earth. If the planet wants to get rid of us quickly she is going to have to become more virulent and more deadly – but let’s hope that doesn’t happen. As to people’s panic – if the reality comes out to anything like those numbers – maybe panic is warranted after all.

(Note a few days later: My friend John, who is a pretty rational guy just posted this – read it and put your head on straight. )