“The mirror is a worthless invention. The only way to truly see yourself is in the reflection of someone else’s eyes.” ― Voltaire
Well, what do we have here?
Looks like we’ve got a good old fashioned crisis on our hands.
It’s often said that all of humanity would unite if faced with a common enemy. In that conversation, the enemy is almost always from Mars. The problem is, we’re not dealing with an alien invasion here. There are no little green men in flying saucers that conveniently only visit deserts in America (that already have UFO gift shops, lucky that, isn’t it?). There’s nothing to point our guns at. No physical embodiment of our confrontation. In fact, the enemy that should have united us all in battle, is in fact, dividing us. This disease is getting inside us all. It’s been working away for quite some time now. We didn’t notice it, until it was too late.
Oh sorry, did you think I was talking about Coronavirus?
I mean, I am. But I’m not, too.
Let’s be clear, it’s definitely uncharted territory. We are all wandering around a totally alien landscape – perhaps it’s us who are the little green men? That’s way too Matrix-y for this time of day.
Who could blame anyone for feeling anxious or scared about what lay ahead?
I’ll be the first to admit I have trouble sleeping at the best of times. Adding something like a global pandemic into the mix really makes for a bumpy ride over the ocean of insomnia. That’s a ship captained by the murkiest recesses of the human ego. Hello, darkness, my old friend. In fact, anxiety is as normal now as arrogance was in the ’90s. It’s certainly selling just as well.
But it’s not just Coronavirus that we’re fighting at the moment.
We’re fighting about bog roll.
Grown-up adult real-life human beings with jobs and houses, fighting over TOILET PAPER.
Read that back to yourself.
A few weeks after everyone posted images of Caroline Flack with the words “Be Kind” we see supermarket shelves stripped bare by the quickest, most insistent in society. Not thinking for one second about anyone else. I’ll never know why toilet paper was the thing they wanted in such high quantities. I can’t remember the scene in 28 Days Later where Cillian Murphy risked life and limb to get his hands on some Cushelle Ultra Quilted – maybe that was in the director’s cut.
But here’s the key thing…
The opposite of selfish, unkind and thoughtless behaviour isn’t calling them all dickheads in a comments section on social media. Being outraged for a few seconds does not exonerate you from your own part in this. Being sad about a celebrity dying is perfectly normal if you felt connected in some way, but why not make that connection with a neighbour, too?
Let’s use the very same tech that enabled the connections, good or bad, with people around the world – but for our local communities. The world can wait. Our neighbours cannot. The enemy was never the tech itself. Mobile phones are mirrors – they serve only to reflect the person in front of the screen. You can wear whatever costume you want, but you’ve still got to look yourself in the eye.
I spoke to my mum earlier on the phone. I wanted to hear her voice. Usually, I send a message on WhatsApp. We had a nice chat – she’s such a warm and funny woman. You lose that over text (although she is still pretty funny). I am suddenly very aware of our distance apart. It feels much more real with the threat of imposed isolation or restricted travel. But my mum at least has a son and daughter who love her very much and care about her wellbeing. A lot of people don’t have that. We can reach those people. We should reach them.
Attention is a currency that isn’t fairly or evenly paid out. Why do we pay more attention to some “influencer” who’s been alive for all of five minutes, yapping on about some sick trainers (or something equally inane) but we ignore the vulnerable, many of which have served society for longer than we’ve been alive – even almost as long as it takes to explain blockchain…almost. Why is our attention given to a tragic story of bullying, harassment and the inevitable consequences, but then no significant changes made?
What is all this virtual connection for if we’re not going to do anything real with it?
As Robert Plant once sang “There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”
The planet. Our beautiful animals. Each other. Our as yet unborn children. All of these can and will be saved. You know why?
Deep down, we’re a good bunch!
We’ve just been sold an insidious bullshit dream that promotes elitism, mindless consumerism, sexism, racism, separatism not to mention the still rampant ageism that eats away into the fabric of a desperate-to-be loved society. There’s a difference between LIKES and love. Real love. The love that should trickle through communities. An endless succession of beautiful deeds done by beautiful people – unfiltered and unapologetic LOVE brothers and sisters!
Now, this isn’t the part where I go “You know, Bubbl can help make all of this better..” and then you go “ah shit, he was selling something all along!”. I wouldn’t do that to you. What I will say is that we’re ALWAYS looking to make things better, now is no different.
So, what is this common enemy that we all fight and yet still divides us?
I’ll give you a clue – it begins with an F and rhymes with beer.
Speaking of which, could do with a drink!
Cheers everyone and stay safe.