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Civilization vs. Corona-Zombies

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

It’s really hot outside. The air is febrile with COVID, global warming, intolerance and revolution. At least the fireworks have finally let up.

As stifling heat saps what’s left of our flagging energy, unrest lingers like an itch after a bite. The exigencies of 2020 continue to unfold with surreal plot-lines as dramatic as any George R.R. Martin epic. Time has warped into a distorted retro-future echo and trying to process the spiraling mess seems formidable at best. It leaves us both agitated and bone-weary, ready to either fight or take a nap.

Day by day we must confront the pandemics insatiable grip, out of control and made ever-worse with specious assertions, indifference and profiteering, all passed off as governance, with an infantilized wink. We relentlessly witness the tyranny of good people being bullied for their informed resistance against the cruel fleecing of our people and resources and, the building of empires through graft, exploitation, bigotry, oppression and rot.

America is in the midst of a legion of crises and there seems no coming end to our hard times. It’s overwhelming. Outrage so protracted and deep is soul crushing. How long can we endure sickness, coercion, decline and zealotry stoked by our so-called leaders for votes and cash? Will it finally slip and fizzle to nothing or will it continue to rage until it maligns and blisters everything good we love about this country?

There are other things than money. Even children know this. There are better things than privilege and power. The addiction of always wanting more is that you can never get enough. The more you have, the less the fix has value or taste. The one percent are opulence junkies and the rapacious scrabblers that nip at their heels are just more of the same – carnivorous and gluttonous - hustling money with grift and calling it success – buying influence and control for the sake of monolithic excess. It’s winner-takes-all and a fat middle finger to the ravages of poverty, disease and ecological decimation.

It is a simple fact that we are a single, interconnected organism. Our resilience, our ability to thrive, is completely dependent on flexibility, building solidarity and learning how to collaborate. When partisanship takes over it blocks us from seeing our commonalities, creating knee-jerk hostility and narrow bias. It won’t get us anywhere. Most of our problems, and the solutions that might fix them, are dynamic. There is not a single perspective that will get us to where we need to be. It is, in fact, our diversity of perspectives that will lead to creatives designs for building a better future.

Now is completely the time when unity of purpose could help to ease our mad entanglements. Respect, imagination, empathy and shared vision are the cornerstones of a better world. Sadly, these most basic tenants seem far from conceivable just now. But, if we can’t find our way, this weird year could get messier still: evictions, foreclosures - an election gone rogue – violence, militarization – and, a flu season crescendo that will make zombies look quaint.

The hard truth is: Civilizations don’t last forever. If complexity continues to swell unchecked, there will be no other path but collapse.

COVID-19 happened as a systemic consequence to our unsustainable quest for growth and expansion. This is a fact. All of our thorny, intractable problems are just the same – interdependent, unpredictable and accelerating – reflective of a global system out of control. The tipping point for our climate system alone is slipping away so fast there is already fear of an irreversible cascade.

Yet our destiny is still perched at the edge, on a cusp. Our country, our global community - our species - is in peril but we can still pull it back.

It is a choice, you know. I can see it. On the horizon there’s an undulation maybe or a shimmer from the confluence of so many threads. Pulled one way, we unravel completely; but, we can go the other way. We can pull the threads with tender hands into an enormity of possible spaces. It is within our capacity to adapt and evolve.

First of all, we must accept our predicament. We learn to think critically, even when reality conflicts with our wishes. We resist every injustice and demand transformation. We vote – we use our collective voice to elect new leaders who grasp our common humanity and aim to build policy and action based on empirical data and social inclusion. We develop holistic perspectives and systemic interventions that rely on recursive calibrations to continuously remodel. We reshape our behaviors for more responsible consumption. We learn how to balance local and national interests with the collective needs of all people. We learn from the past and build an equitable future that’s more in harmony with nature. We accept that each of us is responsible for the blueprint of specific steps that will achieve a better future and for the attainment of those goals. We engage and collaborate; we value both science and art; and we prioritize a sustainable, intersectional global ecosystem.

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