A little stimulus and a few thoughts

Isolation does strange things to an active mind. It helps settle thoughts and helps along the way to clarification.

I’ve been jotting down random thoughts and ideas about our situation lately and thought I’d compile them here. They may not be right or even agree with your ideas but here they are.

I’m looking forward to receiving our little bit of the stimulus package. It leaves me wondering though if we’re all getting it because the pollies are afraid of us and not the virus.

The virus is doing a lot of the work that has been in the pipeline for a while, from heralding in a cashless society through to free crowd control to stop those pesky climate marches. I find it interesting that the powers that be didn’t jump on the problem until it became an economic problem. Even then, they responded with economics. They even put a mining billionaire in charge of the virus situation.

We the people though, were getting a bit riled up about things, but a quick cash injection could be just the thing to keep us distracted for a while.

Many of our problems are ‘first world problems’. Things like having toilet paper to wipe our bums or clean water to wash our hands (let alone hand sanitizer) are very much problems of an affluent society. Even having the luxury to self isolate at will implies freedom from the need to work to earn a little every day as most of the world do. Jelina, Marlon and I have lived like that, on that precarious edge and it is not fun when anything goes wrong.

Of course, self isolation for some is a medical necessity, and some are suffering loss of jobs and income because of the need to isolate. I acknowledge and feel for those people.

In some places I’ve been, you don’t buy medicine by the box, even if you are lucky enough to get to see a doctor. You buy by the tablet, a few day’s worth at a time. Taking a ‘course of treatment’ just isn’t possible for some folks.

It’s becoming a cliche that this is a wake up call. It is in so many ways just that. While we are at home or just distancing ourselves from each other we could be questioning exactly what it is that we value and prioritise. Do we usually prioritise an afternoon on the pokies over a couple of cans of extra food, just in case. Personally, I can’t get over the practice of buying cigarettes when a few days food could be bought for the same amount. Addiction is a very strong thing that overrules common sense 11 times out of 10.

Questions rise like ‘do our kids really need so much time at school’ or ‘ if I can do my work from home now, why couldn’t I do it before’? Even deeper things like asking yourself who you would and wouldn’t like to spend extended time in isolation with and reflecting on potentially toxic acquaintances through that.

I’m watching the various feeds that I have, to see who has been stepping up in these strange days. Not those who are making the most noise or putting out the weirdest conspiracy theory but who is helping whom? Who have put themselves at risk to help others? Who are setting up new networks of love and sharing and who are putting out new paradigms for living. I’m even looking for folks who are simply taking this time to educate themselves. They will be the people worthy of association with in the future.

It’ll be interesting to see how far the authorities will push their authority. This is a good ‘soft’ test of how far they can flex their muscles without folks rebelling. Talking of rebelling, what happened to the rebellion? There were a lot of protests and marches and events aimed at changing the system and getting governments acting on global heating. Gone? Where? People must still be thinking of these things but we’re all distracted by a sudden virus and a payout.

I’m not saying the virus was man made or that there is a conspiracy to spread it. Actually, there is a good one getting around; that the virus is activated in people’s systems by 5G, I’m not a fan of 5G but that link is a bit far out even for me. Most of those theories are based on the idea that RNA can be ‘activated’. It can but ‘activation’ in genetics terms is different from the definition these folks are putting forward.

There again, take a look at viruses, a lot of folks don’t know what they are; to many, ‘virus’ is just a word that labels something that causes illness. Viruses are not alive in the usual sense and are really just little machines with a single goal in mind – replication. The’re little snippets of RNA or DNA that have found a way to exist outside of normal cells and to infect those cells so that they can multiply, fast. In fact, some theories run along the lines that aspects of our cells are actually viruses that have found a safe place to live and adapted. Isn’t it funny that humans behave more like viruses than intelligent beings.

What I’m thinking is that governments and powers of any sort would be crazy not to take this opportunity to undo some of the good that has been done by the protest movements and to further secure their strangleholds on every day life. In these days when the very existence of capitalism, neoliberalism and politics driven by economics is being questioned and fought against, we would be the crazy ones not to expect the beneficiaries of those long standing structures of power to to see all of this as another handhold on the way down.

I’m sure those structures are on the way out. In fact, I do my best to help their passing in any way I can. This is just a plateau on that journey.

If you get some of the stimulus package, I’d recommend giving just a little bit to a local charity or group who are out there feeding and helping members of your community. No recommendations as to which ones, that’s your choice but look or ask around and see which are open and actively putting themselves on the line to help others. Don’t just give to names.

On the good news front, a few individuals are out there risking themselves to help the elderly and infirm. No names mentioned but I know half a dozen who are out there doing great stuff.

Some manufacturing companies are stepping up and changing over to necessary items such as masks and sanitiser. Lets hope the government get behind them.

We’re hearing stories of survival and recovery. I’ve yet to analyse the numbers for myself but posts and articles about recovery are building in number in my feeds. Folks are learning new crafts with this extra time, mine is baking. Just loving it! And gardening! So many people are posting about their gardens, about growing food for themselves. They’re even joining with others in networks. The idea that I’m taken with is the resurgence of the Victory Garden. I’m writing a whole post about this, so won’t carry on too much here.

One thing I’m absolutely loving is the humor that so many are finding in their selves and in their lives. There’s a lot of ‘dad’ style jokes getting around as well as some really funny insights.

This is a time when informal networks are forming nicely between like minded individuals. Most of those that were already established at the time of the contagion are working well and growing in strength. A couple have collapsed in the face of actually needing to do something. That’s a good thing though , freeing up members to do other stuff.

After seeing so many zombie and disaster movies where a everything turns to chaos and tribalism (the tribes usually being led by a strong white male character) it is uplifting to see so many acts of kindness and generosity happening. We are on the way to tribes, seemingly based on who we are associated with on Facebook , but have a way to go yet. These tribes are loosely based (as I see it) along several key themes. 1) love, helping and sharing; 2) getting things done; 3) anti-Chinese sentiment and 4) anti-government sentiment. There is a high degree of noise and cross over between these networks and membership to any seem based on the views that folks had before the crisis.

It is interesting that global heating hardly rates a mention amongst people who were very active, connected and vocal before this. I think that the key to that is that the folks who were active global heating campaigners are very much in the ‘getting things done’ group and are busy working on, through and around their current situations. Global heating will be here long after this situation is resolved and is shaping up to be much worse. If we can’t, as individuals, families and communities, shape up and get through this without, at least, learning something, we’re in for a rougher time than running out of toilet paper.

Personally, I reckon that this is a great time for Gawlerites to get behind Transition Gawler. They’re poised to be the most effective tool that we have in this crisis which, to be honest, hadn’t really hit us yet.

There’s the Transition Gawler FB group, that you can connect with.

If you’re not lucky enough to live in Gawler, you may have a transition group where you live. Here’s a link to the Transition Network website so you can check it out.

Let’s not forget what we’ve experienced and learned when this is over.

Stay well and keep in touch with each other.

A family with a garden near Gawler where we experiment with sustainability.

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