Царица грозная, Чума
Теперь идет на нас сама
И льстится жатвою богатой;
И к нам в окошко день и ночь
Стучит могильною лопатой….
Что делать нам? и чем помочь?
Как от проказницы Зимы,
Запремся также от Чумы!
Зажжем огни, нальем бокалы,
Утопим весело умы
И, заварив пиры да балы,
Восславим царствие Чумы.
The Fearsome Empress, Plague
Is coming for us now
And boasts of her rich harvest;
Tapping at our windows night and day
With the gravedigger’s spade…
What to do? Who can help?
Just like with Prankster Winter,
Lock your doors against the Plague!
Light fires, pour out the drinks,
Merrily bury your cares.
Thus, with banquets and balls,
All hail the Kingdom of the Plague.
(Alexander Pushkin, “A Feast During Plague Time“, from the short plays)
Continuing my review of this op-ed by pundit Petr Akopov, which comprises something like a philosophical rant against modern life, especially Western life and morays, in the face of this medical crisis.
Yesterday I quoted American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who uttered: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Some well-meaning friends, who think I am not taking this plague thing seriously enough, suggested I amend that to:
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. That, plus a sneaky species-hopping pathogen that can turn a person’s lungs into rancid honeycomb.”
Okay, Friends, so I do take this virus seriously, but I also place my faith in SCIENCE, not religion. If you get infected, then please go to a Doctor, not a Priest. The latter cannot help you! (And even as we speak, I am reading that Chinese scientists are working hard to develop an effective vaccine.) Also, I still don’t understand how blind panic can get us through this. Let us continue with Akopov’s thoughts. Where we left off, people are treating this thing like it’s the long-awaited End Of The World.
Akopov: FEAR sometimes paralyzes, and sometimes leads to the opposite: a frenetic activity. Which is what we mostly observe in this case: Closing the borders, locking down entire cities… Has mankind forgotten how to curb its collective fear? Has it lost the ability to think critically?
Not really. The main problem here is that humanity is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Not the entire human race, though: Mostly the Europeans, the so-called Western Civilization. The harsh measures taken by the Chinese government proved to be fully justified. And yet the Chinese people themselves did not panic, nor get hysterical. Western civilization is internally weaker and far more prone to the herd instinct. As shown here, when excessive fear, left to stampede the herd with full impunity, has come to dictate the terms of the mass consciousness.
yalensis comment: Akopov is more right here than he thinks. He doesn’t mention, but I would add here the Western tendencies to “faddism” [is that a word?] and trending. Actually, I believe that the Japanese people are also prone to this, from what I understand; but I know for a fact that Americans are. Russians are starting to become like this as well, but only because they copy the Americans. [Insert Griboedov quote here re. copying foreign fashions.] Remember all the stupids fads of the past? The Ice Bucket challenge, Pokemon, Superheroes, etc. Well, nowadays, in the U.S., “Covid-19” itself has become a fad and a trending thing. Everybody and their grandmother is trying to “cash in” on this trend, even if there is no cash involved, just prestige and trying to make oneself sound important. For example, every online company and service is assuring their customers that they are “Covid-ready” and fully in the loop, even if their product or service has nothing to do with this fucking virus.
Akopov [continues his rant]: Current Western society, as it has been constructed, worships convenience, consumption, and comfort. [yalensis: And that is wrong because?? Is Akopov a monk?] And if Western man is suffering but cannot die, then he demands Euthanasia. [yalensis: again, ditto.] Man believes that he has conquered Nature, has banished God, and will soon acquire, if not immortality, then at least the possibility of an extended life span. He believes that it is for him to decide everything. Everything that is useful, is good. Everything that serves man, is useful. [yalensis: Unless it’s a cookbook!]
The so-called “Golden Billion” people (i.e., Westies) were supposed to unite eventually into an effective leadership for the entire planet. And yet within this “Golden Billion” themselves, night terrors were gestating. Not just because of the growth of inequality, the discreditation of Liberal Democracy; racial, religious, and ethnic contradictions. The Fear had an even deeper wellspring: Man the Consumer (Homo Consumptor?) started to suspect that civilization was moving along an incorrect path. In its relationship with Nature, with Values, with God, with Ancestors, with his fellow man, even with the opposite sex. Everything is very progressive, yet at the same time very nerve-wracking.
[to be continued]