We had The Great Depression. Then the “lite” version, aka The Great Recession. This looks to be bigger than both. We might call it The Great Resetting (or The Great Reset to save a little energy.)
It will be interesting to see how we restart the economic engines of the world. What changes, voluntary and involuntary, we will make to become more resilient. A look at what those might be both locally here in Beacon and globally, in future posts.
The coronavirus is not a Black Swan event, it is a catalyst. Our various systems that make up the economy—finance, energy, health, transport, education, military—have been on the decline for some time, and most of the actions we’ve taken to compensate have made the problems worse. In fact, we’re doing a good job of tracking the curves of the Limits to Growth study published in 1972.
Meanwhile, notes from the field.
I’ve lived alone a lot, and I could never be accused of having a crowded refrigerator or a stocked pantry. I tend to pick up the items I need every day or two from the local store. You could say I’m a roll to roll kind of guy. Earlier this week though, I shopped like a suburban mom with three and a half kids. This is, of course, somewhat prudent, as a number of us may find ourselves under self-quarantine in the near future. Hiccups in the food supply are certainly possible.
But piling the car full of and pasta and coffee is one of the few things we can do that gives us even a little sense of control over this basically uncontrollable situation. And it’s the skill we modern citizens have perfected the best. If anybody needs a cup of rice in the next decade or so, please stop by.
I was at my desk yesterday and looked down at my hands. I was shocked at how raw and dry they looked. Until I remembered that I had been washing them 14 times a day. I can now sing “Happy Birthday” all the way through without once peeking at the lyrics! Silver linings.
Yesterday Governor Cuomo announced 75% of workers in a company must stay home, up from 50% the day before. That makes it almost impossible for a small manufacturer like the one I work for to keep operating. Instead of a flat percentage of workers, the various manufacturing lobbies are seeking a square footage per worker formula. Meanwhile, I am preparing to work from home next week, as I am on the office side of things.
Browsing: When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times (1997, Pema Chödrön.) From Chapter One, Intimacy With Fear.
It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.