SO, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

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I’ve learned a lot this year. Maybe you have too. If you’ve had spare time maybe you’ve put it towards things that your usual life would never allow – learning a language or an instrument, sorting out your garage, or establishing more regular connections with family and friends. I had planned to dedicate time to some of those things too, but it hasn’t quite panned out that way for me – yet.

What I have learned has been more about the path our society was on. Actually it was not so much a path as a six lane concrete freeway with no speed limit.

We can’t “unknow” what has been revealed to us this year, which is that our version of society, built on consumerism, capitalism and individualism, is brittle, and it’s become clear that when we come out of this, things can’t go back to how they were.

This is our World War, our Great Depression, our 9/11. Whatever happens as we gradually return to a new version of normal, we will never be able to forget that it can all be taken away from us again in the space of a few weeks when the next paralysing crisis hits. It may arrive in a different form; a crypto-financial takeover, a top-level system hack, or some other digital coup d’état. Either way this experience will be front of mind for months and years, and simmer away in our subconscious perhaps for decades.

And aren’t we learning a lot about ourselves and each other right now?

Not just how we respond to adversity, but how we think and act when our activities and movements are restricted – our liberties if you like. Some of us stop, listen and make sure we understand the message and its purpose, and act accordingly for the greater benefit of all. A few of us hear the message but just don’t completely get it, although on reflection might join the dots and put society first. Then there are those of us that don’t listen at all, or worse still actually hear the message and choose to either ignore it, or decide that it doesn’t apply. Where the individual is greater than the collective.

Doing whatever we want and being our own person is still going to be a celebrated thing post-COVID, but society and community are going to have to become before loud-mouthed individuals, vested interest groups, or corporations. We’ll need to go back to trusting experts more, and personalities less, listening to each other – whether we agree in principle or not – and choosing our information sources carefully. Trump, Oprah, Israel Folau and Pete Evans are not the new world order.

The only ones who will object or fear these changes are the ones who feel like they have the most to lose; profiteers, power-brokers and the close-minded, the latter often being just average people –  the victims – collateral damage in the propaganda wars.

In the meantime, stay well and safe.

Derek Green,
Managing Editor, The Westsider
editor@thewestsider.com.au

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