Nothing worse than a false sense of security. Please, take every measure of precaution. Then, read on.
A virus is the smallest living thing on earth. And in a way, it’s not even living. It doesn’t replicate. It lets itself be multiplied. A virus is like a string of information caught in some genetic material that needs and forces a living cell to build an in-between physical carrier: the ‘virus’ as we can see through a microscope. The living cell, whether bacterial, human, or anything, is like an industrial plant to the virus and eventually dies through this process. The multiplied virus jumps to the next cell, and so on. Relatively seen, the physical carrier of genetic information is extremely simple.
Compare it to us. Our physical carrier (body/mind unity) is extremely complex. Normal humans don’t see themselves as ‘a string of information caught in some genetic material + carrier’ that only uses the carrier to replicate this string. We are the masters of the universe.
Yet, at this moment, one type of virus is seen as ‘the enemy of humankind.’ A war is waged against it. Even some other wars are temporarily suspended in order to wage this one. Kill the virus! Well, of course, it cannot be killed because it’s not living. ‘Killing’ and ‘war’ are just elements of a metaphor.
And that’s what I want to talk about. This metaphor may be part of what leads most of all to an ongoing crash and another, pending one. The metaphor is part of our mind. We ‘wage war’ but there is nothing to wage war against. Everybody wants to get rid of the virus, surely. Hey. Me too. But waging-war, in this case as in any other, lives first and foremost in our mind, and it can kill.
It kills thousands, sometimes millions. Take WWI and WWII. Would there have been any WW if waging-war would not be in the minds of many already long before the first shot? I see many premonitions in the art of the last decades of the 19th century. People couldn’t mentally or morally follow the societal changes, technology playing a substantial part. Concretely, look at Gauguin and other painters of that era in Pont Aven. They were trying to point out an internally dissociated society evolving to the brink. Being in Pont Aven – recently – I saw the inevitability of war – back then – a few decades later. Or rather: the inevitability of war if no other direction could be found for the waging-war inside. The painters showed. People didn’t listen and still don’t.
In many cases, it is anxiety that leads to war. I mean the anxiety that lives in many people in a certain age and (local or even more and more worldwide) culture. One may say: war is a whirlpool in a stream of anxiety. In a way, a war may incorporate a lot of the energy of this stream. To many, the fact of being at war alleviates. One can see that in any war that has been fought historically. Of course, it is never a solution. In the best scenario, it leads to a change that should have been made long ago. Meanwhile, it irreparably breaks many valuable things and makes the world more ugly.
I don’t see the ‘war against the virus’ as an exception to this. For instance, by now, it becomes clear that – unless many people specifically deal with this issue – the economy will be broken in several valuable aspects. There will be less money for what is deeply meaningful. There will be more suffering from a lack of deeper meaning. Unfortunately, through this, there will be even more anxiety, burnout, and all the pain that comes from internal dissociation. Will there also be less beauty? I hope not.
In ‘Rethinking COVID,’ I defended the hypothesis that the COVID virus is specialized in taking a stressed-out organism as its industrial plant for multiplication. It doesn’t matter to the virus whether this is the master of the universe. As I explained, after a weak response to the virus, the human’s defense system goes in full war mode, killing the virus and, while doing so, in regretfully many instances – and each one is of course extremely regretful – also destroying the plant. The human dies through an overshoot of immunological and inflammatory war-waging.
In human mind-body-oneness reality, the physical and the psychological war-waging are not two separate things. They certainly overlap. In my view, they overlap to a significant degree.
The title of this set of articles was at first ‘Mind over COVID.’ I got feedback from several readers that this could be interpreted as giving more weight to the mind than to the virus. Especially deeper-mind-negating medical colleagues could see this as hmm, well, what? Preposterous, and worse. First, I was advised to stop thinking aloud, which I didn’t. Then I was advised to rephrase and make more palatable, which I did, with pleasure and gratitude.
We are living in a war zone. We wage war against the virus. In a war, anyone is either friend or foe. With only two sides, A and B, it’s simple: NOT-A = B. No time for nuance. No room for a broader view. The only way is forward. In times of stress, people tend to think in ‘fight or flight.’ We want to fight the virus. We take our flight in sheltering, at home, in social distancing. These are rational things to do, indeed. But the war metaphor is not rationally straightforward. We need to be wary of that. It can make us act foolishly. It can make us not see what we are fighting against, which may include ourselves.
Wow, dangerous to say such a thing in wartime. So, we are the enemy ourselves? NOT-B = A? I dare to show my face after this?
The main sorry thing that is happening is that, for already a long time, we are continuously living in a war zone. Now it’s the virus. The metaphor is much broader. It may be anything or anyone. If the war-waging comes first, the enemy is whatever. Where the war-waging comes from is another complex story. It is related to who we are as a species, and even as a living organism. The main thing is that war is never necessary. Yes, we should defend ourselves. Yes, anyone should personally defend oneself. Yes, I dare show my face and will defend it. But war comes with losing rationality. It’s the wrong metaphor and has dire consequences.
Fighting-for is not aggression. You can fight for health, for happiness, for life, and all positive things for yourself and others. Fighting-for is not aggression. Fighting-against is. In Your Mind as Cure, I start by showing that modern Western medicine is a medicine of war. The enemy is the disease. That may be correct – although still unnecessary – in case of purely physical disease. In psycho-somatic health issues, however, it is the wrong metaphor. Before you know it, the enemy is yourself. Then what? Going forward with no broader view?
At the border of a precipice, forward leads to crash. At the individual level, forward may lead to death through immunological overshoot. At the societal level, forward may lead to a social, economic, political, and even religious crash. As it happens, this does not need to be an immediate consequence. It may take a while. A whole society may get into a post-traumatic stress syndrome that is like a whirlpool by itself. We should be cautious about this.
Am I fearmongering now? I don’t mean to. I show a dangerous whirlpool and a way out. Also at the societal level.
Many people wage many different wars. We see now several voices already waging their wars, or putting them more at the forefront, towards a post-corona era in which this-or-that, in war-terms. A bas l’infâme! The end of xxx! Whatever. It’s just the same war-waging metaphor, with the same ‘either A or B’ phenomenon. War is never OK.
Moreover, war is not necessary. Its energy is natural. Its form is weird, irrational and inhumane. We should not ever wage war. We should defend ourselves. And we should know ourselves. To do the former well, the latter is essential. Of course, as ‘masters of the universe,’ we shouldn’t expect it to be easy. In The Journey towards Compassionate A.I., I made an effort to contribute.
War is never OK. With a good view of where the energy comes from, we can use it better. Not destructively. Constructively. That is a double gain. In every human matter, this can be brought to bear many fruits.
“So much theory,” you might say, but this is a bucket to be filled. After being filled with insight and, yes, personal growth, it starts overflowing by itself. What is supposed to take a considerable effort, is effortless. The real effort comes before.
But that is a different story.
Filling the bucket, the bucket itself gets filled with something. Looking closer to what this may be, one can see it is Compassion. Humanity will thrive on this if we get to this. Compassion is not the kind of peace that leads to the next war. It’s much deeper than that. It’s depth itself. It’s poetry.