This time next year – if it turns out that this is indeed a massive pandemic that in the meantime has killed millions, as they are now predicting, I will be humbled and apologize. And I will take all of the ridicule and abuse that this entails. But, more importantly, I will go in front of the mirror and take a long hard look at myself. I will confront my life-long mind-state of inherently questioning not only everything that comes out of any “authority”s mouth, but also of anything that any given body of people around me subscribe to. Because that is how my mind works: If everyone says something I do not join. Categorically so, regardless of what it may be, I do not and have never in my entire life, trusted public opinion. Or authority. If I turn out to have been wrong, that will change. I will acknowledge that I was wrong. And hard as it may be at my age I will try very hard to change my mental patterns. Become a new person, as it were.
But what if the reverse comes about: Let us say that this time next year it finally slowly becomes apparent in such a way that it can no longer be overlooked that this whole thing was not the pandemic that would decimate millions, that it is revealed to have been a giant hype that the world population willingly led itself into. Nothing that was more deadly than the seasonal flu, in the end. Will each and every individual who allowed themselves to be led by the nose go in front of their own mirrors and take a long hard look at themselves? And say to themselves “I too am responsible. I contributed to this hype. I spread it.” Will they?
Whether they will ask this question may not be that important if the world comes out of this with relatively minor damage. A crisis. OK, even a big crisis. Even a very very big crisis. Unemployment numbers up, inflation, banks go bust, a lot of businesses go bust, pension funds go broke. But the world essentially survives. There is still somehow “life on the street”. Things are bad now, but they may normalize at some point. Like that. And yes, things are a bit more authoritarian – there are a lot more cameras around, and yes they do things like check our temperatures at the entrances of airports, and they are trying to force vaccines down our throats – but by and large our day to day lives have not been all that affected. No jackboots literally at our doorstep. And, if not all, a good portion of the stores and cafes in the marketplace have somehow managed to re-open. Things are not great. But it is not the end of the world either. So, in such a situation there may not arise a need for deep self-examination. For an acknowledgement of error. One sort of drifts on, doesn’t one?
But what if we come out of this with a “dead street”? When it is over. Politically, economically, socially, the world we once knew is gone. What if that happens? Will the millions, and possibly billions of people who turned over their liberties to their governments, right down to turning themselves into solitary confinement prisoners voluntarily (even cheering on “lock-down” which is a jail term); these masses who cheered on authoritarianism and embraced isolation as a life-style; who worried about catching the sniffles as the world economy collapsed around their ears – will they look in the mirror and acknowledge that they are complicit in this devastation? Or will they turn around and blame someone or something else? Will they scream even louder? Righteous indignation galore?
We shall find out, one way or another. If I turn out to be wrong I will look. If I turn out to be wrong in even asking this question now, I will look. That is all I can promise. As for the rest, we shall see.
But, then again, at that point – what will it matter?