It’s my belief that Covid19 is here to stay — forever.

Likewise, in case it wasn’t already obvious, the Anthropocene — at least until we’re all wiped off the face of the planet.

Weave in the Billionaire class and a whole host of other cultural norms that have driven us forward with such willful blindness, and it’s clear there’s no going back to the good old days.

For the record, it’s not a case of me being right, in the know or smart. It’s a fact.

In the midst of this milieu, how anyone can opine on the word normal escapes me. Personally, I’d like to see it consigned to the historical bin to be replaced with something more prescient of our times.

Like what?

A mind-numbing, brokenhearted mess!

Seriously, we’ve got to stop pretending that this epoch is one to celebrate or crow about. I’ve been in it and around it long enough to know that things are much worse than when I started out. Oh sure, you can (and others have done so — e.g. Steven Pinker) make a case for saying that universally standards and life expectancy are much better but set against the 6th mass extinction, it all looks awfully shallow and akin to some sort of moral bypassing of the real issue(s).

Then again, as I often insert into my musing, I could have this all wrong, and you’re living an amazing life, one you’ve designed on the back of your grit, perseverance and incredible work ethic. Great. Give yourself a pat on the back. I’d only ask one question:

at what cost to the earth?

At least in my bailiwick, what’s plainer than day is that wherever I find a successful person, I can pretty much guarantee that the earth and its resources have been sacrificed and/or negated. A case in point is my late father-in-law, Brian. He was stupendously successful for a bloke who started out as a carpenter. I mean successful in the sense that he had an amazing knack for making money which he then poured into acquiring stuff. Lots of it including houses, cars, a swimming pool, holidays and antiques. Perhaps it was a generational thing but I don’t ever, not once, remember him opening up and talking about the environment, less still his huge consumerist footprint. The sad thing is that my wife and her siblings have been clearing up his largesse over the last few months, which has meant dumping masses and masses of stuff that will eventually get buried in the ground. I think he lost interest and stored everything in an old cow shed which meant most of the stuff had been left to rot away.

If I’m right about my exegesis of the past, what should we be doing right now to make sure that (as an example) our kids or young people don’t grow up with the same level of expectation as mine?

Well, as difficult as it is to hear, we should be asking what’s enough or better still how we can and must live and aspire to have a lot less.

“Are you nuts, Summerhayes!”

Quite possibly, but when I see all the advertising that’s awash online and off, I die a little inside. I can’t believe that we’re that dumb to believe that that sort of consumerism isn’t at least one of the reasons we’re in such a mess. I realise I’m making a cheap point and consumerism is an easy target but where else would you start? Being all you can be? Possibly but I’d like to leave that to another post to explain why I’m so down on the trope of living up to our God-given potential.

Perhaps we need a national conversation or at least we need to ask ourselves how we create a new, more egalitarian narrative that might give the generations to come a bit more time before the world finally falls apart.

I don’t know. The issue just seems too big, too outrageous and too difficult to comprehend when we’ve been brainwashed to believe that normal means having what we want, when we want it (even if we can’t afford it) without any regard to the natural world and/or climate change we’re going to continue the slippery slide to oblivion.

Julian

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