The great Molly Jong Fast wonders if we're headed back to the past:
But why, why have we all gotten so old-fashioned.? Is it out of necessary? Or is it something deeper? I live in New York City, where about 700 people died in the last twenty-four hours, and 700 the day before. There’s a heaviness here, as ambulances roll down empty avenues. What if connecting to the old ways is a way to find comfort, to connect with humanity of previous centuries?
We have no modern playbook for living through a plague but we do have a Victorian playbook for it. They didn’t have a pandemic in the 1965 but they did in the 1665 (the great plague of London). 2017 didn’t have a pandemic but 1817 was ravaged by Cholera. What if connecting with our historic past selves is a way to connect with the collective unconscious? What if we are trying to find the permanence of humanity? Maybe we won’t live forever, but humanity will continue. Maybe baking and sewing and making our own hand sanitizer are ways to connect with our past and, in some ways, even our future?
I would take it further and say that we are not only connecting to a simpler way of living but that we are realizing that so much of modern life is a construct of easily-dismissed bullshit that requires us to examine every aspect of how we're living.
Do you care about your neighbors. Hell, do you even know your neighbors?
It's beyond simple things. It's a re-examination of everything that used to seem important. Do you need a new phone? Do you need that new car? Or do you need to set aside a couple of weeks every year and take your family to a place where they can connect with nature. Or just stay home and have a staycation. What even matters anymore? Is it status, things, your annual salary or is it more than that?
I see so many heartbreaking--goddamned heart rendering and shattering--stories of people who have lost their family members and have been introduced to a new reality. I have to believe that we're going to see a changed and transformed country and that it will be a sign of real progress. I hope to hell we don't come out of this without having learned our lesson and without having learned about what really matters to us as a people and a nation.