Surveying the UK newspaper websites overnight – with the latest developments and reactions thereto on the advent of Lockdown Three dominating most of the coverage – I found myself moved once again to reflect upon some of the fundamentals underlying the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I should add here that I have nothing particularly ground-breaking or insightful to offer and no doubt – in one form or another over the last 12 months – every Ruster happily still shy of the effects of dementia will probably have been down the path I am choosing today at least once if not regularly.
However inept Government ministers, their advisers and every administrative level dealing in the business of the administration of power have been – however skewed, half-baked and/or now discredited the dissemination of data, information, policy and/or new laws, rules or regulations via the Number 10 press conferences has become, it has become hard to escape the endless line of interest groups, businesses, industries, left behind poor, disabled or disadvantaged minorities queuing to gain access to the media airwaves in order to make their ‘special pleading’ cases either for attention and/or immediate ‘pie in the sky’ levels of funding and support in order either to maintain their current quality of life or prevent them from falling even further behind than they already are.
I could go on.
Half those involved professionally in education seem to want “A list” priority given to getting all children of school age back to institutional classroom learning as soon as possible in order not to destroy the life-chances of a generation: the other half seem not to want to open schools at all unless and until the virus has been finally and permanently defeated.
You cannot have both.
And someone in authority has to choose which way to go, no easy matter, especially when to lean towards the “back to school” argument would potentially be a clear and present threat to public health.
Much of the angst, anxiety, frustration and pain currently being generated within all sections of the UK public stems from the capacity of our species to convince itself that “what we have” (in positive terms) is not only an entitlement of all but actually a permanent fact of life and that any suggestion that this might not be so is impossible to entertain still less contemplate.
This delusion – for that is what it is – has a lot to answer for.
The Earth spins upon its axis every day and yet is also constantly evolving and changing.
Every human being, every species is doing similar – finding new ways to gather or harvest food, communicate with each other, and so on.
As I sit here, tapping away at my computer, beyond my 69th birthday I am content to ruminate on Life and what it is all about.
I became a grandfather for the first time three months ago.
I’m sure that when my grandparents were bringing their kids up they imagined successive generations of their descendants continuing the sequence of growing up into adulthood, having their own kids – and later maybe them attending the same schools and universities, taking up the same professions, enjoying the same hobbies, pastimes and sports as did their grandparents – ad infinitum into the future.
It’s natural, because those are the thought processes that all human beings with family have.
But when I consider the current pandemic, the global warming/climate change crisis, and the never-ending growth in the human population vying for apparently ever-decreasing food and other resources, I begin to fear for the future of my young grandson.
By the time he gets to my age (in the year 2089), what will the world look like? Nobody has a clue. We can only speculate, but we can be sure it will be very different to how things are now.
For example, will adult humans beings still be allowed to breed exponentially, just because they can – or by then will there laws determining in advance how many children each couple may have, of what gender, and so on (if at all)?
For an oldie like me contemplating some of the attendant issues is quite difficult – partly because I’m frightened of what the future will be like, and (to be honest) partly because there’s very little – in fact zero – chance that I’m going to around to witness it and so (arguably) there’s no point.
When you think about it, there’s nothing to say that the Sun will actually rise again tomorrow, or that a giant asteroid won’t hit Maidenhead this Friday lunchtime.
Some of those currently stridently demanding from the roof tops that they want to return to “how things were before” – and/or alternatively be funded by Government (at their current standard of salary and comfort) unless and until such time as they do – might do well to consider such broader – existential-challenging – subjects now and again.
Ranting against “those in charge” (some admittedly not having “a particularly good war” by any yardstick) for making a complete general horlicks of dealing with the crisis may be a “fun (satisfying) sport” almost equivalent to shooting fish in a barrel.
But for anyone to imagine that there is – or indeed has ever been – a “normal” that does not (cannot) change ranks up there alongside King Canute’s attempted defiance of sea wave power, even though (as we all know) he only went through the charade only in order to prove he couldn’t!