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Covid Zeitgeist

Written By: - Date published: 12:04 pm, March 21st, 2021 - 31 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, health, quality of life - Tags: ,

Today or rather, this weekend marks Autumn Equinox, a flipping point between light and dark. After many months of constant bombardment with news, events, and ‘opinions’, today feels eerily quiet. Under normal (??) circumstances this should feel good, some long-sought peace and calm to recharge the batteries. Unfortunately, while the battery feels empty, the recharging ain’t happening, or is it? Some wounds take more than one season to heal.

Personally, I feel physically and emotionally drained. Much of what used to interest me now feels boring and stale and I just can’t be bothered with it. I know this feeling will pass. Everything in Nature is cyclical and humans and their mysterious psyche are no exception.

Politically, we now seem to wait and perhaps even look forward to Budget-2021. The last few progressives still standing may hope for a sign, something that could resemble something transformational if you try really hard, squint your eyes, curl your toes, clinch your fists, clench your jaws, and bite your tongue. Instead of release valve that gives a burst of new energy, this will be a mental and physical tour de force; such is the state-stasis of this Government and society at large, it seems. In Europe, things are even worse as they mark Spring Equinox whilst facing (and fearing) a third wave of the pandemic.

The question on my mind is whether under the surface of it all rejuvenation and renewal is growing or decay and destruction is continuing. Seeds will germinate and sprout in decaying debris from the cycle(s) before it. In other words, both processes are inextricably linked and happen simultaneously, as always. However, it is not easy to shake that feeling of dark and gloomy this weekend as a sign of the times.

So, rather than talking myself deeper and further into a hole, rabbit or otherwise, what glimmers of light and hope are there for us to look at, socio-politically speaking? What can we focus on that generates a positive spirit of mind and positive energy to move forward?

Let’s get moving again!

31 comments on “Covid Zeitgeist ”

  1. Sabine 1

    High unemployment, high housing costs, no one giving a shit, but all kinder and gentler. Is that bright enough a light?

    There is no light at the end of the tunnel, as that would mean investing and planning and being pro-active and atm it seems our dear leaders and rules are most happy telling all sorts of people why they can't have help, and besides be humble and learn to plan for the next pandemic, cause the government ain't coming to help.

  2. Pat 2

    Hope springs eternal….and is regularly dashed.

    As you note it is cyclical….and next week there are bold housing announcements!

    • Sabine 2.1

      So very bold, yes, you read the budget before anyone else or you just hoping that Grant Robertson is capable of something 'bold'.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Personally, I feel physically and emotionally drained. Much of what used to interest me now feels boring and stale and I just can’t be bothered with it.

    Yes I've sensed this change in you recently. I offer that it's a sign not so much that those things which no longer appeal to you have lost their innate significance – but that you hunger for something beyond.

    I've no idea what this 'beyond' is going to be for you – I'm not going to presume that – but I sincerely wish you well with this. (It's hard to write this without coming off as patronising – but I trust it's received in the spirit of solidarity with which it's offered.)

  4. Drowsy M. Kram 4

    The impact of COVID-19 on hopes and dreams, and so mental wellbeing, is huge. If you haven’t read it, then I recommend "I Feel Much Better, Now That I've Given Up Hope" smiley

    The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ feelings at high school, undergraduate, and postgraduate levels
    5.1. Proposed strategies to battle the undesirable consequences of COVID-19 pandemic
    VI. Providing adequate information
    VII. Improving communications and providing psychological assistance
    VIII. Reducing boredom
    IX. Making teaching and learning process more engaging
    X. Creating an atmosphere of positivity and optimism

    COVID-19 depression and anxiety: How to take care of your mental health
    Stress, anxiety, hopelessness — the emotions that defined the pandemic and how to cope with them.

    Ireland's publicans: 'I’m angry there is no dialogue with us … it's mentally very draining'

    It's enough to drive you to drink!

  5. Yes exactly my feelings too Incognito.

    We've been on a roller coaster for a year now with Covid and new things to get used to ……lockdowns are new, spaced out queues for supermarkets are new etc. We have had adapt to a whole lot of big and small changes. We have had worry about big and small things.

    We can be happy about big and small things too. Just before reading this I read an account about the great day that was had yesterday as the Homegrown music festival took place in Wellington. This was cancelled last year.

    Here is the account


    I am not a festival goer but I had a feeling of happiness that this was able to go ahead. I had a thought that the comments 'felt' like NZ. People just held onto their tickets, the musicians just rebooked for this event this year.

    It seemed to be saying that this time last year those people were saying 'this too will pass'.

    We can look back on the past and the huge bow waves of social and economic reforms/progress that seemed to accompany terrible depressions and wars.

    It does seem as if some are trying to force us into BAU and this can be draining as I think generally the human condition is to learn, make changes, adapt, go forward rather than sinking into the torpor like state of BAU or hiding in the nearest cave. It does seem that perhaps we as people are being let-down a little by no real discernible onward movement from the Govt, and I keep saying to myself 'wait for the Budget' before thinking this….

    There is the concept of hygge to look at. I'm getting wood in and each year I think about the story of Squirrel Nutkin and so planning to be warm….

    Outdoors, walks, saying its ok for me to blob out for a while. My Mum had this saying on her wall from Immanuel Kant, I find now, via a Peanuts cartoon! 'Happiness is something to do, something to love, something to look forward to'.

    Then if all of this doesn't work we can all walk around with a pencil across our lips as that mimics the endorphins we get when we smile. And endorphins make us feel better and a pencil in our lips is a message to our nearest to be caring of us.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1

      yes Having things to look forward to makes us happy – training our thoughts so that we see (more) ‘ordinary/everyday’ things as things to look forward to will make us happier.

      Squirrel Nutkin is a fun tale, but I value my 'tail' too much to emulate him!

      Hum-a-bum! Buzz! Buzz! Hum-a-bum buzz!

      • Shanreagh 5.1.1

        It was more the nut gathering they were engaged in rather than the naughty riddles and impertinence of SN!

        Having things to do, love, look forward to and training our minds that's good. smiley

    • RedBaronCV 5.2

      Lots of noise colour and light from Homegrown – I enjoyed the music second hand – so hope the participants did too.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    Tis the season to stratify persimmon seeds to plant in spring. Tuck them in a ziplock bag in the vege crisper with a moistened paper towel, and put them on a sunny window sill a couple of months later. Nothing restores the spirits like green growth. Last year's are thriving.

  7. RedBaronCV 7

    I think my biggest fear at the moment is that the government is not taking advantage of the crisis to do an economic reset away from mass tourism, endless immigration to keep wages down and presiding over the overseas ownership of basic services and shifting of basic production overseas. Plus we could harden our democracy and prevent overseas purchase of it.

    I see other big businesses making use of the crisis to get their own way and in the process just about collapsing certain services like transactional banking where it is fast becoming "my way or the highway" regardless of community needs.

    • Shanreagh 7.1

      I think my biggest fear at the moment is that the government is not taking advantage of the crisis to do an economic reset away from mass tourism, endless immigration to keep wages down and presiding over the overseas ownership of basic services and shifting of basic production overseas.

      Mine too, also imperceptible movements on other fronts eg housing, undoing the worst of neo-lib stuff etc etc BUT 'wait for the budget…..'

    • AB 7.2

      Related to this – my concern is that the single biggest insight delivered by the pandemic is going to be rapidly stuffed down the rabbit hole of amnesia. It's that an economy is a tool created, managed and refined by humans to serve the needs of every citizen. An economy can be put in suspended animation for 6 weeks to stop lots of people dying, and governments who control their own currency can create money out of nothing when they really need to. An economy has no independent existence from the society it serves. To say as some people did at the start of the pandemic, that 'the economy' requires that we let the virus circulate in the community, is to create a genocidal abstraction.

      "After such knowledge, what forgiveness ?" There will be a major effort to eradicate the knowledge and withhold any forgiveness.

  8. Simbit 8

    My wife and 2 of our 3 kids just boarding an AirNZ flight outta LAX, returning after 4 years away. They're rather excited. I'm working on (Canada) with 17 yo till he graduates high school and we'll follow. We're pretty optimistic…

    • Ad 8.1

      I'm working with a German wind farm specialist at the moment, and his family are still trying to get Isolation slots for July.

      They are all committed to coming here and setting up their lives.

      It's inspiring to hear a story such as that of your family – sure hope we're going to properly use a specialisation like yours.

  9. mac1 9

    I attended two nights ago my sixth Relay for Life after my first treatment for prostate cancer. That first Relay I walked two laps as a survivor with my catheter bag banging against my leg.

    One sleep ago I walked 80 laps, 32 km. Each time I went round the track I saw the big sign lit up for all to see.

    HOPE. Hope after four cancer diagnoses and treatments. Hope sustained with the charity and support of hundreds. Hope that things will get better.

    To change things we need first of all hope.

    So, with Covid, and housing, and health and the corrosive effects of racism and sexism, poverty and depression, we must be hopeful and keep the faith, acting with compassion and sharing.

    Beware the media with their sensationalism and the internet rabbit holes alike. On Friday night in a small provincial town we watched the moon go down and the sky darken; we walked a track the perimeter of which was lined with candles to commemorate those who did not survive; and walking through the cold near-frost night fed with hot drinks and plentiful food we saw the sun rise anew.

    I found in the book of hope my first survivor message back in 2011. "Dum spiro, spero."

    Whilst I am breathing I have hope.

    • Ad 9.1

      Mac that's a mighty story and I'm glad you are still fighting the good fight.

      Agree with you that sometimes just switching the media off is good for the soul.

  10. Robert Guyton 10

    Incognito; your inner-eye is strained from gazing through the etheric murk, trying to make out the words on bent and rusting sign-posts in order to know where you should be headed and where you have come from.

    I recommend a round of reading for you; imaginative stuff from authors who know this state you find yourself in and know also, that newspapers and feeds don't deliver; only books do.

    I'm finding Tiffany Aching and her Nac Mac Feegles enormously instructive at the moment and am certainly not feeling lost amid all this palaver 🙂

  11. McFlock 11

    Dunedin Fringe Festival is in full swing – dozens of different shows, no idea how many performances – over a hundred, I bet, in only ten days. It was cancelled last year because we all know why, so this year it's like a fizzy explosion of creativity.

    I've tech'd a couple of performances, and worked front of house. Soooo many people! And, like, not with the ever-present fear we had for some gigs late last year. Almost back to normal.

    • I Feel Love 11.1

      We may well have crossed paths many times, Sine Wave was cancelled last year but we're continuing this year, at Pioneer Hall PC, ambient wave & feeling very lucky.

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        quite probably – if only because dunedin lol.

        I'm involved with one particular venue, rather than working on specific projects from dev to performance..

  12. Jackel 12

    What you're describing sounds like depression. You may have taken on a bit much and got a bit worn out. Try to reduce your commitments where you can, and take some time out to rest and process things.

    Don't give up on the progressive dream, it is worth fighting for.

  13. Foreign waka 13

    Right now we have people screaming for endless assistance and others just getting on with it. No one is really sure what will happen next and this just tells us that everybody, including politicians in government are fatigued.

    Now this might be ok for a couple of days, maybe a week but whilst the ordinary worker still soldiers on we are looking for some leadership. Because the difference between leadership and management is inspiring people with a vision (not slogans). This is sadly missing, we are being "managed" and in the end that is something no thinking adult really likes. I hope to see some vision soon, comprehensive, enveloping all people not just a group or "issue" that works on the divide and conquer. I like to get an idea what the plan is to get people housed, fed and clothed before we embark on any other goals. Winter is not far away and the desperation will show more prominently.

  14. KJT 14

    Down about lack of lessons learned and progress.

    A bit of sailing and walking, and winning the Americas Cup, helped.

  15. Rosemary McDonald 15

    I can't explain you would not understand
    This is not how I am
    I have become comfortably numb

    I have become comfortably numb

    Okay (okay, okay, okay)
    Just a little pinprick
    There'll be no more, ah
    But you may feel a little sick
    Can you stand up?
    I do believe it's working, good
    That'll keep you going through the show
    Come on it's time to go

  16. Ad 16

    You are a good person from what I can see Incognito. The mental toll is I believe going to hit us all to varying degrees. Some like myself with 10 weeks away from my partner last lockdown found it hit me fast and hard. Others it builds up and corrodes like a mental lactic acid, and then one morning you just can't get up.

    I think we're going to spend the rest of this year trying to find the right gear for New Zealand to re-start itself. That's several million stories like yours. All the elements are there for us to come right, but this recovery won't be rushed either medically or as a society or as a polity.

    Naming a zeitgeight is inherently melancholic: namable moments are so fleeting. Avoid it. Old Jewish philosophers called it kairos. They frame time as if meaning is perpetually loseable: that's a properly melancholic science if there ever was one.

    Let history name itself, and just focus on taking care of yourself and those closest to you.

  17. Anne 17

    After the roller coaster 12 months we've been through, I think many people are probably feeling a lot like you Incognito. In some ways it feels like we just had 12 months taken out of our lives and that has got to have an effect on our individual well-being. I am showing increasing signs of a lack of tolerance and compassion for stupidity which is a bit of a worry. Mind you it just might be old age crankiness creeping up on me. 😉

    I think we're seeing a similar reaction from the government. The ministers in particular must be worn out and fatigued after the enormous pressures they have been under this past year. It might be the reason there appears to be little action on so many fronts. Perhaps we need to give them a bit more time to re-energise in the same way we ourselves need re-energising.

  18. woodart 18

    perhaps the moaners and grizzlers should talk to a few people in the u.k.. they have had a year of nearly continuous lockdown as well as the uncertainty of brexit.if you think we have problems with business, housing, poverty, crime, etc, we have had it pretty sweet, but as is the current fashion, many people seem to need constant stimulation from others, and can only whinge. when the travel bubble is opened with aus, I would hope these malcontents take the opportunity to have a loooong overseas break…to paraphrase muldoon, make us both happy

    • I Feel Love 18.1

      I have US friends, their kids haven't been to school for a year! They themselves haven't socialized or met new people, one of them said to me the other day "I just want to visit a museum".

  19. Castro 19

    "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
    Is just a freight train coming your way…"

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