Where I’ve Been

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I’ve been MIA for a while now. A few weeks ago, I was helping to count people for the Census. It was an okay experience. I got to meet decent people and travel to new places.

Of course, the changes to my schedule have been doing interesting things to my head chemistry. I’ve been coping as best I can. But returning to the normality of life in quarantine has been an experience of its own.

The past few weeks I’ve been avoiding this space because I’m doing what I can to try to keep my rational mind going. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been out in the world and met people. There’s a glaring chasm which separates information and reality. I’ve met people who are losing their ability to cross the divide and find out what is real apart from what they elect to see from their media.

In many ways, this is like Plato’s allegory of the cave. Everyone is chained to a wall, glancing at shadows that for all intents and purposes are reality. Getting out of the cave, I’ve been able to get a glimpse of people who are hurting, who are doing well, who are happy, and who are scared. The latter needs comfort the most – but they’re not getting it.

I mention all of this because while the past few months have had a lot of new things added to my life, this past month has been rough for other reasons. A remote family member of mine has taken ill with COVID. In all likelihood, she will die from it. So I’ve been angry the past couple days as well.

But, because of my recent travels, I know that there are many people who will not see the same tragedy that I see. This thought – of fluid facts, of perceptions distorting reality – is terrifying to the rational parts of my mind. I have met people who will refuse to acknowledge things as they are. Their excuses have been legion.

Fortunately, it is not my place to dispel them. Accepting this has been rough, as the consequences of these excuses is to enshroud culpability for the loss of human lives. But this isn’t anything new. People have been in denial for all of recorded history. Indeed, much of early recorded history is garbage for its bias against truth.

In the end, I’m having to accept the consequences of my own excuses and blindness. To think that we live in an age where people must acknowledge documented phenomena is its own folly. People have always been able to pick and choose what they think is real – they can chain themselves to a thought and make friends with shadows and their fellow captives.

6 thoughts on “Where I’ve Been

  1. Your likening of the pandemic isolation to Plato’s cave is apt, with the exception that those in the cave never got to get out and see the world as it is, which you have done. We are, indeed, looking at shadows … but I no longer look at “video news” of any kind. No Facebook video news pieces, no Nightly News, national or local, none of that as it is a complete waste of time trying to sift reality out of the nonsense.

    I am looking to external sources for my news, like The Guardian (UK) and Reuters (also UK).

    I am glad to hear you got out and got a bit of fresh air and contact with reasonable people. While we can criticize people for not informing themselves, we are not exactly making it easy to do that, or to vote, etc. By and large I find most people reasonable and kind. The problem doesn’t reside there. It resides in political wealth. The rich have decided to shape society how they wish and to Hell with the rest of us.

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    • I’m not sure external sources are enough. I was watching a finance program at the moment Trump did his drive outside the hospital. The host of the show made a direct link between stock price fluctuation at that moment and Trump. The likelihood the drive was the primordial factor in stock prices that day is tenuous at best. But I suggest everyone spend a day checking these associations people make and they’ll see we live in a very unreal world. Let me mangle a famous quote and say that reality seems to be a set of lies on which most of us agree (In the original that’s a reference to history).


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