“Time for (personal) reflexion, to calm down and to see the positive aspects of it,…” Articles, posts, personal messages,... are full of phrases like that at the moment and I get the reason for it. Being in isolation myself for more than two weeks now I understand that it can be hard and given the constant streaming of bad news it's only natural and understandable to look for positive aspects of this global health crisis. But for me, something about reading these positive and hopeful messages bothers me.
First of all: I believe we should be reflecting on our own lives on a regular basis and not only in crisis. The fact that we are in isolation, being worried about the current and the future state of our lives and the lives of people next to us blurs, in my opinion, the already generally weak potential of critical thinking in our society. We are, now, accepting governmental decisions with even less or no oppositional questions or complaints at all and just hope that this nightmare will be over soon. And honestly, what else should we do? Go out and protest? Not a good idea right now. But an unhinged government, in many cases around the world with participation from diverse far right parties, pose dangers for the future.
Secondly: No, we should absolutely not calm down but instead be furious about our political leaders. We should reflect on them and the political system we live in. It is an outrage that we think now is the time to reflect on our lives and be calm, stay positive. No way, it's time to be angry and disappointed in our governments. They failed their citizen big time and should be held responsible for the many deaths (and many more to come) of innocent people, many of them health workers. The global leaders were in fact warned repeatedly, and more than once about this exact scenario. Scientists urged them for decades to prepare for something like this and warned about constantly cutting down and shrinking critical healthcare infrastructure. Apart from China, where the pandemic started, all other countries had months to prepare and at least get enough masks and install at least more intensive care bed units. This crisis, at least the scale of it, was preventable, and our governments failed in their (theoretically) basic task: Protecting their citizen. Instead, they reacted too late, too poorly and left thousands to die. All the while we all sit at home, netflixing and praising our leaders that (now finally) took action.
What does it say about our governmental infrastructure, if they fail so miserably at their essential job? How do we react to that? Do we even?
Thirdly: As good as it sounds when people say “This is a chance to really change society for the better, to start over, to become more sustainable…” this for me is mere hope, nothing more. There is nothing happening that would support the idea that this is a chance for positive transformation. Rather the opposite I believe. Don´t get me wrong, this positive attitude is very noble and I support it, but we mustn't ignore the negative outlooks, because this whole thing is a tragedy and there are many possible negative outcomes. And to really think that we can use this crisis to get to a better future? For a new start? We, or the governments should´ve had a plan ready for how to use a disaster like this to restart society beforehand. Now, in the very middle of it to come up with ideas is way too late. Political, financial and economic institutions already enrolled tremendous measurements to ensure that we will go back to business as usual as fast as possible. Too fast to really ask critical questions. Governments are willing to pay huge amounts of money to restore the economy to its former state. Taxpayers (not the big corporations of course) will have to once again pay for that, and maybe we will see the deregulation of important (workers) rights and ecological achievements in order to help the economy recover. A shift to a more sustainable future might get harder to achieve. This crisis, in my perspective, actually narrows down the possibilities to transform our societies for the better before the next, probably way worse crisis hits.
I don't mean that we shouldn't think of ways and discuss possibilities to use the current situation for the better. That is absolutely necessary. But I feel like in crisis we are so much invested in thinking of ways out of it that we don't pay enough attention to what this crisis means for our lives in the future, who's responsible and what the (negative) consequences will be.
Don't lose the positivity, but not for the cost of forgetting to think critically and raising your voices. This is not your personal crisis, you don't have to reflect on your own life right now. This is a global crisis and you are not at fault, but very much a victim of it. Even if you didn't lose your job, or worse, a loved one.