We have witnessed, in the last 150 years, a great increase in industrialisation, which means mechanisation. Once the most complicated machines we used were looms and spinning wheels. Inherently these had to be worked slowly so as not to break the threads. The economy was based on agriculture,with great animals a feature of the daily life of the many, and, due to a lack of cooling facilities, remained primarily local in extent. If the corn ran out the whole area starved together or lived on alternatives. Buckwheat has remained a significant crop for many cultures but has only gained prominence in Britain as a gluten free flour in recent years. Certainly not as a commercial crop, as it is in France and Russia– unless by a few specialist producers.
Since then the world has become dominated by mechanical devices, recently supplanted by electronic devices. All of which have served to increase the separation of humanity from Nature, its source and home, and to increase the pace of life, and with it the pressure endured, to an irrational level. This has been further increased by the divorcing of the economy from ‘real’, that its to say material, goods and social services, to allow the creation of a speculative system for the increase of monetary (imaginary) holdings, or 0’s on bank statements, in what has been called the Global Casino. Money, this hypothetical non-related money, has become an end in itself. The game is to speculate, and money is to be made in split second decisions as traders play in the big game. You have to be on the ball to gamble. But as Dylan said, ‘the wheel’s still in spin’.
Now as businesses are forced into isolation and close down through the corona virus suddenly the pace of life is slowed. People are lost, in freefall, as their lives take on a distinctly different pace. Those locked in high rise blocks find they are restricted to occasional forays into the outside world and obliged to recognise the prison-like conditions they formerly accepted by working outside the home. Now they are held within the emotional confines of their own homes, and, through the walls and adjoining floors and ceilings, those of their neighbours surrounding them. Many, of course, spend their time on line, so that in addition to the emotional atmosphere they are held within, they are also surrounded by radiations from television, electrical circuits and wifi, all of which have been shown to be detrimental to the well-being of the human body.
This breeds a condition for social unrest and we have yet to see the effects long term on people held in such restriction. For those lucky enough to have a garden or patio the restriction is nothing like so severe. Of course, for the majority of our leaders – politicians, bankers, lawyers – the question does not arise. A second home in the country allows them to enjoy seclusion, as distinct from what the majority of the nation suffers in the form of ‘self-isolation’.
It is my hope that we do not see a rise in social unrest and criminal activity at this time, though the presence of a police force empowered to interfere with people in their daily exercise or other activities comes precious close to a) cowing the public and b) the acclimatisation of that public to living in a police state. This is further promoted through the use of the armed forces to supplement nursing staff and police duties. The building of emergency hospitals is hardly an answer to the problem if there are no staff to serve in them. Particularly when the venues chosen serve only to inflate the wealth of those in some distant land.
However my purpose is not to warn of the public dangers of the current ‘lockdown’ but to speak of a return to a more natural pace of life. From the mad spinning of the roulette wheel of financial speculation which dominates the world economy – i.e. the value of the money in your pocket – and causes the pace of life to grow ever faster, we are obliged to take a more leisurely pace, to actually see our children and face ourselves, as day after day we are fed nothing new on the news but growing numbers of deaths from a virus we were assured was no more dangerous than flu, and countless repeats of programmes watched years ago.
I am trying to paint a picture which is positive. It is one of self-reflection and accepting of personal responsibility; the recognition that life is a gift, not a given; that death is a certainty, if we assume this material body as our identity; that others daily put their lives in danger to serve society as a whole; and that life itself nestles within the greater field of Nature herself. For me this is the greatest gift we can be given, to remember we are natural creatures and to consider the impact of human (and economic) life on the world of Nature at large. Will it stop people demanding ever more delicious face creams, or boundless quantities of fish? It is unlikely to do so, but perhaps it will help the great majority to realise the insane way in which life has been lead up to the present, and to call for a change in the way they are obliged to make a living.
Sadly I can also see that it will be used as a ploy to spread the canker of 5G around the world, masking whatever that holds behind its high-speed exchange.