Have the governments of the world truly acted in our best interest as they locked us away in our caves in response to the Covid-19 pandemic? One can argue physiological health becomes predominantly important when faced with such a crisis. But do our “powers that be” care about or understand our mental and emotional welfare? Do they even acknowledge the presence of the human soul and our spiritual wellness?
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“Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.” (NRSVCE Bible, 1989, Psalm 146:3-4)
In a Q&A interview dated May 5th 2020, the Auburn University Newsroom asked their own professor of sociology (Dr. L. Allen Furr) to comment on the societal effects of “lockdowns”. In his response he offers, “We learned from the SARS and MERS epidemics that quarantines affect the mental health of people in isolation and health care providers. Anxiety, substance abuse, depression and anger lasted months and even years after those crises ended. We need to be aware of emotional and behavioural changes in ourselves and loved ones and not be afraid to ask for help if troubles persist.” (Auburn University, 2020, para. 4)
Two years have passed since this interview. However, Dr. Furr’s comment still invites a plethora of hard questions. Questions that our media outlet “talking heads” and narratives are failing to ask. Have all these events taken their toll on us collectively? Have the vaccine mandates and policies of 2021 eroded our family bonds? Are people not becoming walking “trigger-happy” emotional time bombs?
Now, let’s examine the effect of people turning to social media to “kill time” during their pseudo house arrest. In a 2012 article for Scientific American, Art Markman (professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin) offers the following commentary on the dangers of social media use. “A perfect storm of factors come together to engender the rudeness and aggression seen in the comments’ sections of Web pages, Markman said. First, commenters are often virtually anonymous, and thus, unaccountable for their rudeness. Second, they are at a distance from the target of their anger — be it the article they’re commenting on or another comment on that article — and people tend to antagonize distant abstractions more easily than living, breathing interlocutors. Third, it’s easier to be nasty in writing than in speech, hence the now somewhat outmoded practice of leaving angry notes (back when people used paper), Markman said.” (Wolchover, 2012).
Can ancient wisdom offer insight to this discussion? Enter the greek wisdom of Plato. In the allegory of the cave, Plato lays down the beat of our times. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves, or behave like an ostrich and hide our head in the sand. Are we not all trapped in our chairs? (Plato, ca. 380 B.C.E/2003) Riveted to the glow of our screens? A pathetic scenario whereby turning our heads away from the “shadows thrown by the fire on the wall” (Plato, ca. 380 B.C.E/2003, p. 241), is far too much for our fragile necks to bear? Are the “shadows on the wall” not similar to our never ceasing daily barrage of modern propaganda? Even though Plato’s words seem to have prophetic tones for our times, this was after all, an allegory. One has to read into a deeper (spiritual?) reality to understand that Plato was using this dialogue to warn people. There is more to life than a never ending “daily treadmill” of mundane repetitive tasks. There is a greater “Truth” at the centre of the human psyche (soul). Until one really desires to know this greater Truth, and goes looking for it… Are they really living? Or, are they content with dwelling in the cave of their own personal ignorance, pride, and ego? What can be said then, of a prolonged unemployed and confined populace that is corralled and herded into an abundance of time to consume countless hours of television media coverage?
In closing, who is a troglodyte? A troglodyte can be defined as: “a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves”. Or, “a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes”. (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Our governments reactionary policy to a health-scare is clear. They opted to confine us into our personal modern day caves (our homes). Do we not have an obligation to question the long lasting effects? Modern and ancient wisdom reveal that there is no good that can come from being confined for prolonged periods of time. Nor, can it come by the way of being force-fed ignorance. After careful consideration of the evidence, one needs to seriously accept the potential danger of global Covid policies. Our governments are creating a scenario (either through obliviousness, or design) whereby people around the world are being given emotional ammunition to cook up the perfect storm of civil unrest. Consider a flame. It needs oxygen and fuel to survive. The effects of prolonged isolation, in concert with the blitzkrieg of daily television propaganda and social media use; has, unleashed a terrible flame in our world. We have but one thing left to do. Start asking questions with the objective of seeking the Truth in all things. Especially, from our elected officials. Lest we just become another statistic to be swept away in the (state-sponsored?) Rise of the Troglodytes.
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