Those who build walls are their own prisoners. – Ursula K. Le Guin Oh my goodness. The social illness that the pandemic launched into its active phase is far from over. That is obvious from the comments on my last post, where I asked for suggestions on how to approach the Covid topic from a post-pandemic perspective. I can’t say the intensity of the responses surprised me, but it shocked me into noticing a feeling that I’d been derelict in my duty to follow up on an issue I wrote about extensively in 2020 and 2021. Like many of you, I’d kinda like to move on. Forgive me. Also I was wary of getting addicted to identifying with my partisan role in the issue, with its attendant indignation and righteousness. But I still have a lot to say that feels important to me. The Covid pandemic may be over (or it may not be), but the process it initiated has hardly begun.
More than anything, what Covid has brought me to is the idea of parallel institutions. I had small regard for most institutions going into 2020, but I did have *some* regard for them. The press, the FDA, the CDC, the schools, what have you. Now, I have almost none. Not in a vindictive or angry manner, but in a calm manner of, "if I follow their advice, my life will likely be worse."
I find myself torn between two ideas. The first being, one has a duty to pay attention to it all, to engage and fight for what is right! To stand up in the face of tyranny and be courageous. To take a stand.
The second idea being, simply, not not engage. I have ceased paying attention to the mainstream narrative. I do not follow the news or the latest trends. I am trigger-happy quick to shift my focus from any of the mainstream insanities that occupy the airwaves. I focus on reading books, on learning, on growing, on staying healthy, on keeping a financially sound household.
And I suppose this sounds admirable in some ways, but in others I also question whether I am abdicating some duty I have as an American, to stand up for certain principles and to fight back against tyranny! And yet, in a very Randian sense I am selfish. The mainstream BULLSHIT makes me feel bad. Reading a 100 year old book and going for a run feels good.
At any rate, thank you Charles. I read everything you write.
“Forgive them father, for they know not what they do."
It's important to keep in mind that forgiving someone does not mean that things go back to whatever they were previously--that is a different choice altogether. We can choose to forgive someone and also choose to not have a relationship or contact with them going forward. Often people think forgiveness means that everything returns to whatever "normal" was, but this is not true.
I think the covid madness has shined a light on a lot of ugliness--in a lot of different forms--in the world. Many have experienced this in various forms of persecution--like the woman in the ukulele group. In my opinion, it is important to find like-minded people that won't shut you out like this going forward.
Completely spot on; people cannot fathom why I am leaving California permanently. They tell me that most restrictions are gone, so I should stay. Unfortunately, many friendships are permanently destroyed, as I cannot share a life with people who have such a different worldview as mine.
yes yes and yes - always to your clear thinking and expression of what many need voiced Charles. Like you, I don't enjoy my own indignance and disdain being rarked up in some of these conversations - however, I don't find that with your writings. What is important is that we don't take on the role of victimisation...no matter how tempting - we are certainly not victims! Yet I know of many dear friends who are, quite understandably, stuck in this mode. I feel for them because they are in pain and disbelief - feeling unacknowledged, unheard and desperate for some sort of vindication that we were not wrong in making our 'unpopular' choices and having our 'questionable' counter-opinions. In the case of say the ukelele group, I would simply not be able to attend because it would not feel good or right to my soul to be treated with such disdain and patronisation. But if making that choice left me feeling bitter, disgruntled or angry at missing out, I would need to find another way to reframe it that felt right for me and didn't put me back in victim mode. The way I look at it is, I have moved on...I am now freeing myself up to find more aligned friendships, groups or interests that don't result in me feeling like a bad or inadequate person. There is nothing wrong with the remorse felt around that - as in your analogy Charles, it would be akin to sadness at leaving a less-than-ideal relationship but knowing it is ultimately for my higher good and joy to come! Whichever side of the fence we are on, to be truly self-sovereign is to be true to self, to let others be true to themselves no matter how much we may disagree and to be willing to move on from what no longer serves. And to take note of where there is any resistance...this is the edge to work on. If I am acting ONLY out of opposition or resistance, there is no peace in it. I have to find my own peace, my own coming to terms...my own higher knowing. Sure, we want accountability, we'd like acknowledgement (which we may never get) - but are we going to be miserable and angry forever if someone doesn't give it to us? Like everything - and you do this so well Charles - we need to be able to hold the paradoxes. Keep up the great conversation - it is so refreshing and something I can totally get on board with!
I just want one person to reach out to me and ask for a conversation. Just one. And then I will have hope. So far ... none.
Charles, the element of your writing that gave me the greatest hope during the pandemic was the sense of being free of the need to demonise an 'enemy'. Reading the venomous comments of people on each end of the covid spectrum and finding them to be the same was disconcerting, particularly when I recognised the tendency in myself. I remember reading People Of The Lie at uni and here was my very own opportunity to practice the art of taking a stance without demonising those who stood elsewhere. For a long time I felt such rage at the unfolding manipulation and the blatant stirring of fear, the potential vaccine damage being done. I wrestled with that, but then, like the hulk, I found that instead of fighting the rage and trying to subdue it, I could be angry all the time in a low level, sword-sharp clarity kind of way. That residue anger enables me to hold boundaries quite effortlessly and without a sense of loss. Healthy rage is something that interests me coming out of the last two years, as does, the positives that might have been experienced by the encounter with the virus. I know someone who had chronic pain disappear while they were ill and who was somewhat enabled having recovered. Our tendency to make war against everything, including a virus, means we are not engaging with an experience which might be for the good if we were less frightened and better equipped. The western health service, whilst good in many ways has also made people helpless, relying on experts instead of having the knowledge to take responsibility for their own health.
I have come to what I feel is a healthy place with regard to the rejection I experienced not only because of my vaccine status, but also because of my stated views. First, by deeply and completely putting myself in their shoes I can honestly see how they saw my views as a grave threat to them personally or else their loved ones. And from that place how could they do anything but distance themselves from us? The second way I find peace, when I think of how friends could get on planes, or go to restaurants, or put their kids in camp while my family could do none of those things, is to remember that they paid an incredible price for that privilege. When I remember that I feel glad that I did not have to pay that price, and feel compassion for those that have paid it. I stop feeling excluded and start feeling grateful. This has only come from a huge amount of internal questioning and reflection, but it means I no longer see this as an abuser victim situation, so I feel there is no need for me to forgive anyone. I can be at peace knowing they simply have a different way of seeing the world than I do. Of course, I can still go through clouds of anger and sadness when I'm triggered, but as long as I stay calm through the emotional storm, I come out feeling peace again on the other side. Thanks Charles for your reflections.
Thanks for articulating my feelings. The Covid theater awakened me to a phenomenon that has occurred repeatedly in history. Scapegoating, witch hunting, crowd formation.... I had never experienced how it felt to be ostracized. It’s taught me to be more fair minded, choose friends more wisely, and to be prepare it could happen again. Ignorance was bliss, but civil society can change in an instant.
Seems to me, it's not a question of forgiving vaxxed friends who avoided us. Forgive? Who am I God? Rather, this is an opportunity for me to reflect on times in the past when I isolated others from my circles. And then, to forgive MYSELF for those instances. Covid is an opportunity for self-reflection and choosing a new direction. An opportunity to look in the mirror and forgive the guy looking back.
I think I am most vexed by the treatment of children during all this. That they were, and are, made to suffer so, is deeply disturbing. They are at once so resilient, and yet so impressionable. Taking faces away from their eyes by the masks hurts me to witness.
Very good and thoughtful article. Thank you! I would add that we cannot simply move on. not just because the psycho-social damage remains. but also because the top down mandates and fearmongering are not over. by a long shot. It is is not a question of will it happen again, because it is still happening! WA state gov just announced that mandatory covid vax plus boosters is now permanent for many state employees. All our WA collleges are mandating vax and boosters for not just staff but also students. This is likely to become permanent also. The federal government just spent more billions of our non -existent dollars on monkey pox vax. When will that become a required vaccine? This is only just beginning, not ending. No matter how much we wish it were so.
This schism between the non-compliant and compliant is getting wider as the disowned and ostracized are being forced to create an alternative culture in the blue states or move to a red state. The entire socio-economic and political topography of our country is literally changing before our eyes. We are setting up the conditions for a civil war right now. And for those who doubt this, I suggest you really dig deep into how our first civil war actually started. It was not just about slavery as so many history texts and woke educators claim, it was at it's core really about state sovereignty vs federal government sovereignty. And at it's legal core that is also what the fight over Roe vs Wade is about.
If you remove the emotional and highly manipulated charge from these issues, including the vax mandates, you will see it is really about power and money and the control of resources, especially people. This is a baseline of human dynamics. We have simply tweaked it beyond all sanity.
Thanks so much for this articulation Charles, we share your concerns for the unseen and unacknowledged scorn and vilification applied to those of us who simply wished/wish to choose our own medicine. We have recently distilled our expression of this time into a song titled, We are here together. Some of your readers may be interested in this perspective linking the intransigence, scorn and punishment shown to us as being related (albeit considerably smaller in scale) to the intransigence, scorn and punishment given to another Australian, Julian Assange:
We are about to go visit interstate family members for the first time in two years. There is much trepidation about this, esp because for them the matter of Covid is all over and our subjection is nothing to speak of, despite more infections in Australia now than at any other time, the rise of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in one of the most vaccinated countries on the planet, and the fact our interstate family members all got Covid after their many jabs and so far we haven't got the disease despite being unvaccinated.
Healthy people are suddenly dying in our community at an alarming rate and yet no one dares make the connection or at very least, asks a question. Family members who have questioned our sanity, our intelligence and our morality for not going along with Uncle Pfizer and co's novel synthetic biology programs are reluctant to see us, yet our 9 year old misses his grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins, and we feel we need to say goodbye, possibly forever, so we journey north this week. Because there is "nothing to see here," we feel it is only a matter of time before the next great authoritarian push is asserted and we are all divided more intensely again. So it's time now to say goodbye, quietly, respectfully and with love, to those who have scorned us. We feel too vulnerable in their presence, emotionally and biologically.
We have now witnessed which community members, and indeed Australians, would most likely have gone along with the Nazi program back in the late 1930s, and which ones would not have. This has nothing to do with a line between those vaccinated or not, but rather who was pro mandate and who wasn't; who saw human rights abuse and who said "nothing to see here," or worse, "punish them!"
While this has sharpened our sight about who we can trust, we nonetheless live in a constant state of foreboding, which we know is affecting our son. His participation in our household's music (sense) making is trying to direct this grief into creative expression, so it can be processed and made into, rather than fester. We often open to his lightness and dance and sing and joke together, but he often gets pulled into our heavy hearts and our adult planning for a darkening future.
Our song, We are here together, merges from the grief and corruption into determination, hope and play, and then a call to others to collectivise our resistance and determination.
Sending much love from Djaara mother country
Beautiful piece, Charles. It helps me feel less alone since you captured exactly and with extraordinary empathy what so many of us are struggling with.
"Partly it’s a matter of PTSD: I don't feel very safe among these people."
This. You nailed it.
I'm looking forward to reading your new book.
I also recommend the work of Paul Levy and his book "Wetiko: Healing the Mind-Virus that Plaques Our World."
This is a very important topic and I think will become even more important as consequences from the vaccine become more evident. There's a desire I feel in myself to wish to be vindicated, and I remind myself that the vaccinated include my daughters and friends. Behind the most vehement rejection is really a fear that we're right. My Course in Miracles says to speak to the hidden fear and guilt, not the manifestation. I look at this in Reversing the Reset. Thanks for talking about this!
A very thoughtful piece of work. To think these humiliations are past is not true for many of us. Some of us remain in a hellish limbo knowing that we will be denied life-saving medical treatments because of our refusal to take the covid product/jabs, which are medically contraindicated in too many ways to count. This is happening everywhere...even to infants who need organ transplantation to survive. Those who have played by all the rules, who have worked very hard to stay well and alive many years now are told, no...you cannot have a graft unless you submit to our medical and emotional tyranny, submit to pharma’s poison. There’s no recourse...these people face a united front that wishes them dead and has the power to make it so...and is purposefully letting people die as we speak.
I'm really glad you started this conversation, Charles. This topic has been on my mind so much, and on the minds of everyone I know who (wisely) exercised bodily autonomy around the investigational Covid-19 vaccines and was subsequently shunned and shut out of society. How do we move on? And what do we do with all these people/friends/family/colleagues in our lives who agree(d) with our exclusion from society and from more private spaces?
It has been stunning to discover this past year just how many of my friends (former friends, really) are actually fine with the notion of medical apartheid, up to and including proposals that the unvaccinated be fined, or placed under house arrest, or even removed from our homes and confined somewhere else if we won't comply. It has certainly been challenging to lose so many relationships in my life. I have had the feeling of standing on constantly shifting sand since late 2021 when vaccine passports were introduced in BC. I was unfollowed by 100 poet friends and colleagues on twitter in a 24-hour period after I posted my photos from the first rally I attended against vaccine passports.
But it has also been important - crucial I would say - for me to discover this. It has made me much stronger, much harder to kill, much more aware. I have a clarity I did not have a year ago. I am at a point where I am not only ready to let them all go (the old friends and relationships), but I need to let them go for my own safety and personal security and mental health and emotional well-being.
I don't feel I will ever be able to have anything other than the most superficial relationship or interaction with any of the hypnotized. I simply cannot ever trust them to not be duped again. Even if the mandates have been temporarily relaxed, these people are still in the grips of mass formation. Their powers of critical thought are offline and may not ever really come back online.
So I am focusing on and participating in the development of parallel structures and systems and networks of friends and mutual aid.