The New Normal
For over two decades, we have sat and watched movies and played video games about the impending Doom of humanity, known to us as the Apocalypse. It’s manifestation has been described as an all-out-war with an army of machines, a nuclear world war, being starved to death by a bacteria, an intergalactic superhero war and last, but not the most believable, the viral zombie apocalypse.
Well, the virus came. We got caught with our pants down. Plot twist: it didn’t go for our brains. It went for our economy. It didn’t turn us into zombies. It turned us into hermits.
“This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.” — T.S.Eliott
Yes. That quote is relevant here. No. This is not the end of the world.
While we sit in our 21st Century caves and cower, COVID19 is reshaping our world. It’s righting our wrongs. If you think of the Earth as an organism, and humans a bunch of functional cells of that organism, then our overpopulation would equate to a cancer. Cancer makes the body sick. Polluted. That what we did. And either the body dies of cancer, or it attempts to fix it by releasing an antigen. The Coronavirus.
What we perceive as a viral threat can also be perceived as a defense mechanism of the Earth. We just have to stop looking at ourselves as the center of creation.
“Indeed, it was their own hubris that ended their reign; their belief that they were the pinnacle of creation, that caused them to poison the water, kill the land and choke the sky. In the end, no nuclear winter was needed; just the long heedless autumn of their own self-regard.” — Love,Death&Robots
Sitting in a home quarantine that started as self-ordained and somewhere down the line turned self-preservative, reflection becomes a big part of life. As artists around the world, we end up expressing our daily bits and bobbles in our illustrations and words.
COVID19 hit every country in the world between December ’19 and March ’20. It was the same experience for everyone. One day, you were living off your shitty/awesome life, depending on where in the world you were. The next day, you were scrambling down the supermarket aisle, fighting for cooking oil, vodka and toilet paper.
Now here we are at home, watching Netflix, learning cooking, tik-tok ing away our ‘sabbatical’ (which we had saved up for that trip to Italy *spoiler alert* where we can’t go anymore), while those less fortunate than us are getting eliminated lap by lap like a Nascar race (this exercise suddenly got a little dark, didn’t it?).
Hope, they say, is born of faith. Faith, that the world will be a better place tomorrow. That the sun will rise again tomorrow. That this nightmare will be over tomorrow. In truth, hope has a simpler origin. “Whatever this night can throw at me, I have faith that I will survive it and see tomorrow.”
In that hope, we now wear masks and gloves, plug in our earphones (The Book of Eli), pull up our hoodies, and go out to buy groceries, just like scavengers in those post-apocalyptic movies.
When the smoke clears, and we come out of this pandemic, there will be a new normal. We will be stepping into a new world. It may seem familiar, but it would be imperative for us to understand that civilization is a little over 6000 years old, while the Earth has lived for 3.8 billion years. It has survived several mass extinctions. It will survive us. Humans are expendable for the Earth, while the Earth may not be so expendable for us.
But hey, Mars One launches in 2026, right? So what do we know?