Closed sign and doorknocker in the shape of a skull with tentacles
The Brig, cocktail bar in Falmouth, is closed. Cthulhu’s still asleep, and the old gods are giving way to the new.

Normals we have left behind

My friendly neighbourhood conspiracy theorist tells me that They want the second wave to come during the Summer months, when it won’t be as bad.

So that’s okay, then. There is brain activity behind the decision to tell us all to go back to work despite nothing else having changed. Same old workplace, same old virus.

And long sunny afternoons. And a mellowed-out virus that’s kinder to us in the sunshine.

Wait — a virus that encourages sunbathing? I feel another twinge in my sense of the unreal.

Sunlight, said my radio the other day, has both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Well, of course it has.

Just about every component of the modern world forcibly ground to a halt — and now the thing wants us to get some sun.

I can take a hint, but isn’t this weird?

Maybe it’s my cognitive bias going a bit wonky, but if They offered us a choice between (a) a media scientist explaining the R number again and (b) a media atheist giving us a Rational Explanation for the weird fit between Covid and everything we’ve been doing wrong since about 1959 — I’d go for the less patient one.

The atheist, I mean. “How can you believe such nonsense?” is always such a great start to a relationship.

Scientists only get out of bed because they know they don’t know everything, but atheists.

Atheists are inside the box with the rest of us, but they absolutely are not going to let anybody find a lid and try to open it.

Sit down! This is all there is! Tiny little wriggly microbes are causing it!

That’s not a lid! Don’t open it!

Scared? Me? Nonsense!

But don’t open it!

Was it G K Chesterton who said, “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything”? [Spoiler: yes, it was.]

There’s so much on Google and Wikipedia about belief, and faith, and spirituality, and Gaia, and Mother Earth, and The Goddess, and affirmations, and chanting, and shamanism, and healing, and astrology, that it’s actually quite difficult to find that quote about God.

But yes, it was G K Chesterton. [Told you.] He meant, I think, that we either hold to our faith in the one Divine Entity that hardly gets a mention these days, or we become credulous fools.

A variant on Hilaire Belloc’s “And always keep a-hold of Nurse For fear of finding something worse,” I suppose.

Let go of Jehovah, and you get Cthulhu.

Nonsense! Don’t often say it, but — nonsense!

There’s something better, not worse, about today’s more forgiving Divine Entities.

[No, I don’t know why I keep using capital D and capital E. A primitive part of my brain has taken over, clearly. Nurse! Help!]

Never mind whether they exist or not. Never mind whether you’re a hard-line atheist or ready to accept the geneticist J B S Haldane’s “suspicion” (his word) that, “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

Doesn’t matter. We’re facing a deadly global pandemic that’s not only killing people; it’s killing the way we live now.

Whatever form they take, and even if they’re just words for a way of treating the world, we need the DEs now.

I caught myself planning a vegetable garden yesterday.

I wonder if the “gift” of this terrible virus has been a greater awareness. [Greater, transformed, different, awakened, woke, perhaps even pagan — feel free to alter that sentence.]

We’ve all confronted our own mortality. We’ve all heard the government say that it’s safe to send our children back to school — and the parents among us have made their own decisions.

We’re all looking for the comforts of Normal, but we’re doing so with our eyes open.

We might believe in Gaia and the angels but we have absolutely no faith in Them.

That’s healthy, right? They might think they can instruct us, or nudge us, or even deceive us back to Normal. But that was the Old Normal.

The New Normal isn’t the old normal with added face-masks and social distancing.

The New Normal is us, working together, making our own decisions, growing our own vegetables, watching sunrises, casting aside differences.

Making our own economies.

Not making sacrifices and paying taxes to the old one.

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