We all know that smoking is harmful, yet we smoke. We all know that processed food is bad, yet we eat it. We all know that social distancing is safe yet we are ready to kiss everyone down the street.
Therefore, why are we more attached to our way of life more than to life itself in spite of all the warnings?
The answer is simple: we are cultural beings. We live and thrive in our culture which creates patterns and habits in us. Lockdown broke societal habits and left us miserable in general. Humans are not just simple beings; they are not animals whose sole aim is survival. We don’t eat to live but we live to eat and the list goes on.
Yes, our Modus Vivendi is more important than life. We don’t just survive; we live!
Words are revelations of the thinking process. A single word can speak thousands words about a new shift of mentality. Moreover, a single word can define an era, its challenges and its bright side. 2020 is no exception: it will always be remembered as the year of the pandemic as it is its main word. Let’s check the more important words of this year.
According to a quick google search, the list is very long and obviously some words can vary from one country to another depending on each country’s problems. However the common ones are:
Pandemic (which is an epidemic that has escalated to affect a large area and population) caused by the Coronavirus, later determined as Covid19 as a new generation of the coronavirus family.
Covid19 forced the world to be in quarantine (a state of enforced isolation designed to prevent the spread of disease) which gave us later the words lockdown and curfew as governmental ways to face the spread of the virus. Speaking of which the following words are direct results of the illness whether it is symptomatic or asymptomatic. For that sake, a PCR test have to be done to make sure if one has gotten the virus or not. For all these reasons, people have to wear masks and/or face shields, respect social distancing (which is more of a physical distancing) and hygiene instructions.
The direct consequence of the pandemic was shifting the way of life to adapt to the new worldwide situation. Therefore, work became work from home or remote work (and for that sake read my previous post about this subject Why does my food taste like emails? ), teaching online and selling online. Hence the frequent usage of words like Zoom call, Skypecall, Video call.
To sum up 2020 in one concept, it is the year of Biopolitics like never before.
Worldwide, everyone is wearing a mask; even the Venetian carnival couldn’t imagine it. The eyes without a face syndrome had become synonymous to citizenship. By uncovering the failure of the world medical system, facing a pandemic is a confusion between a patronizing totalitarianism and medical emergency.
Until now, the origin of the pandemic is still unknown. However, what is clear now, it the fault of capitalism in its current form, at least for the last 10 years. When absolutely everything is salable, including people’s health and freedom, then Covid19 did us a great favour in spite of its ugliness. The virus demystified what we thought was the ultimate success. The “phantom of the opera” in its 2020 version.
2020 is the Halloween year: the US presidential elections anyone? The uprise of racism and fanaticism? Decapitation of a history teacher down the street? Corruption? Climate change and pollution?
Wearing masks helped unmasking the perverted political systems.
Minimalism is everywhere on social media. Suddenly, people realized that abundance is somehow a burden especially in times of lockdown. How many pairs of shoes does one need? It all goes back to the need and desire dilemma. A world based on marketing, desire and compulsion is indeed marketing abundance.
In this perspective, without being completely for minimalism nor against it, I try to draw minimalistic sketches.
It takes such a short time to be done with one uninterrupted line. I loved the exercise. It takes precision, practice and a sharp observation.
Same is required for minimalism in general. It takes precision, experience, practice and a sharp observation in order to look put together.
Due to the massive work of cleaning, sheltering, helping and rebuilding after the Beirut port explosion that happened on August 4th, unfortunately the covid19 cases skyrocketed. There are on average 500 new cases every day. Therefore, the government decided for a two weeks lockdown for the following reasons:
The explosion destroyed three major hospitals and patients were relocated in different hospitals. This leaves us with less hospital rooms/beds to treat covid19 cases. In addition, hospitals are already crowded with injured people and ill people. A big hospital that was slightly destroyed had to treat 700 injured people the day of the explosion!
The covid19 cases are spread out; the government couldn’t isolate some affected regions. However an exception was given to Beirut, precisely to the area of the blast, so work can still go on.
My personal opinion is that the government doesn’t want more protests down the streets.
With that being said, here we are again in quarantine. Although I was out and about on some occasions but following all restrictions of the covid19, the idea of being in lockdown again is hard to swallow. I am spending my time between working out, working online, some gardening and nature photography. I still visit some close friends.
2020 is definitely the year of change. Whoever is still clinging to the previous normal life, will find it hard to cope with what was referred to as “the new normal”, a post I wrote a while ago that you can check it here: The new normal
As countries are preparing to go back to normal life, I can’t help looking back to the lockdown experience as a period of time where I was forced, like the rest of us, to new habits and ways to survive and live through this strange pause. I have learned important lessons for life whether there will be another wave of Covid-19 (I hope not) or not.
Here are the lessons I learned:
Step away from news. In stressful times like these, being constantly glued to your computer or phone and reading/watching news is not the best thing to do. In spite of being tempted to do it, and just for the record, fake news outnumbered the true ones. So, let alone being obsessive about knowing more can cause stress, but also not all is true. I limited myself to one hour per day to read or watch the news.
Don’t binge eating/drinking/smoking. This is the time not to mess with your body for the sake of immunity. adds stress to the body which decreases immunity.
Have an activity, a hobby that makes you happy doing it on your own. Whether it’s gardening or drawing or cooking etc., happiness is achieved first in solitude then shared. If you only rely on others to make you happy, then a lockdown will make you bored to say the least. Boredom is another word for anxiety.
Learn DIY skills to fix and repair things in times where you cannot bring in any helper to do it for you. And in general, learning new skills is good.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a great novel to make days/nights shorter and to shift your mind to a different world.
Keep the contact with the loved ones. Nothing beats human warmth even if it is virtual. Physical distancing is required, not social distancing.
Again, let’s hope and pray that a second wave of the corona virus will not show up. Until then, stay safe.