The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: A Few Observations Amidst COVID-19/CoronaVirus Response and Reactions
Posted On March 16, 2020
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.