Tuesday, June 14, 2022

When people show you who they are, believe them

As the pandemic stretches into a third year, I find myself more and more discouraged. Solutions for ending it exist, but few people seem interested in discussing, let alone implementing, them. The hardest thing now is coming to grips with just how selfish we humans can be - even people I thought of as "good people" - people I considered thoughtful, caring friends. It's been shocking to see so many disregard the safety and wellbeing of others at every turn, time and time again, for more than two years.

I get it. I do. The pandemic has been hard on all of us. And we can't always do the "right" thing, the selfless thing. But it's disheartening to witness so many always put themselves first, even when it means imposing risks on others. It says a lot about our culture - none of it good.

In this part of the world, governments are doing their level best to pretend the pandemic is over - or, at least, that high levels of infection, illness and death are inevitable. They're not, of course, but it seems most people prefer comfortable lies to difficult truths. We've gone from "we're all in this together" to "I won't be mildly inconvenienced to save anyone's else's life" in head-spinningly short order. It's soul-destroying in ways I find hard to express.

I'm not sure how we make it through the next few years without complete social, economic and environmental breakdown. The one thing I do know is that, when this is over (if it ever is), the number of people I will continue to think of as friends is much much smaller than when it began. I can't ever unsee the raw narcissism, entitlement, and greed that has characterized so many people's actions and attitudes.

I wish I could be less judgemental of others, more hopeful about the future, but, if I'm brutally honest, not much of what I've witnessed has surprised me. The people who now think nothing of boarding a plane a few days after testing positive for covid, or refuse to wear a mask at work, are the same people who've always put themselves first. I just never wanted to believe they were really that selfish, but I no longer have any doubt that they're exactly who they've always shown themselves to be. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache by accepting that sooner.

The flipside of course is that there are those who've gone above and beyond to care for others over these past two years - especially those working in healthcare, education and retail jobs - and I'm grateful to count so many friends and family members amongst them. Those friends and family are more precious to me now than ever. When my spirits are at their lowest ebb, it's them I count on to renew my faith in humanity.

So where do we go from here? Personally, I plan to keep lobbying for better from our politicians and fellow citizens, while doing all I can to keep myself and others safe. Hopefully, we'll eventually realize we're in deep doggy do and get our act together. If science comes through with better vaccines and treatments, and a few of our political leaders grow a spine and/or a conscience, maybe we can still find out way out of this mess. 

Sorry to be sharing such grim observations. I just really can't think of anything especially uplifting to say about all this, so here are a few soothing images from recent photo outings instead. 

1 comment:

  1. As always, lovely photos! I learned as a teenager (It's a long story involving a bankrupt millionaire, a stockbroker's office, and time to kill) that people are ruled by fear and greed. There are a few, rare, exceptions. Very few, very rare. Nothing since has caused me to change my mind, though I've been surprised a few times.