Does the Age of Corona signal a time for the zeitgeist to shift? Zeitgeist, there’s a word I don’t think I have used in a real sentence before. It is defined by the interwebs as:
the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
“the story captured the zeitgeist of the late 1960s”
If you have been trawling the “socials” more closely than usual you will have seen things shift over the last month. There has been a real change in tone.
At first, it was “What’s the fuss?”
Followed quickly by “Hang-on perhaps this is more than the flu.”
Followed by there being no toilet paper in the shops. Or rice or pasta or dried milk powder. All the things you need to hunker down and isolate. My post in January about Disaster Prepping now seems apocryphal.
Once everyone was in lock down the funny new lyrics to classic songs started. Some good, some bad and some very professional. Plans for the “recovery” are starting to emerge now that China and Italy are beginning to lift their restrictions. The memes changed to “what will be the first thing you’ll do when we get back to normal?”
What’s the rush to get back to normal? Normal was killing our planet. It was killing us.
Opportunity for Change
The latest trend has been memes of the earth sighing and enjoying a break. This is the shift in zeitgeist I am talking about. Just as I was formulating in my own mind a desire to not return to “normal” but a “better new normal”, I have been seeing more and more posts calling for the same shift. I don’t think Facebook has developed mind-reading yet, it would seem I was very much not alone in my thought patterns.
This article is an example. It outlines how we should be prepared to be gaslighted by corporations as they try to catch up on all the missed revenue. To return to our old habits of spending money on things we don’t need. While you have been in isolation, you have probably been busy Kondo-ing your physical possessions, consider Kondo-ing your whole life. Be deliberate and thoughtful about the things you bring back. Take this chance to recreate your life.
I think we can use this Corona-induced “Big Pause” as a time to reorder our personal economic circumstances and have an impact on the world’s economy. Yes, it will be painful. Yes, people will lose their jobs, some businesses will go bust. Others will rise in their place. We probably won’t ever get an opportunity to hit the reset button again.
Those of us who are privileged enough to make the choice to consume or not consume can have the most impact. Do you need 50 white t-shirts? Does your phone really need upgrading? Should we pay scientists more and celebrities less?
Make some choices!
Become hyper-local when you consume. Rather than returning to the large multinational corporation for your quick meal, support a local take away shop or small restaurant. Pay a bit more for locally sourced milk. Buy from the source. I’ve discovered a beekeeper who lives (literally) around the corner. It makes me smile to think the honey on my toast may have come from my own flowers.
Travel locally, keep the sky blue! Have you noticed how blue the sky is? No planes, less traffic, less photo-chemical smog.
Think about a barter economy. What can you do that you can swap with others? Time? Unwanted goods? Services? Mow someone’s lawn in exchange for a home-cooked meal?
Grow some of your own food. Keep making bread from scratch. Share it.
Continue to work from home. (The kids will eventually go back to school.) Convince your boss that you don’t need to be in the office every day. It will save them money too.
Let’s use this devastating global event as a catalyst for positive change. Let’s not waste the chance.
EDITED TO ADD
Another one from today: