As they say, hindsight is 20/20. In our case, literally.
Fifty-six days into 2021, the insufferable load that was last year is now settling into my psyche’s memory circuits. The other day I was sitting and thinking, as I’m prone to do. I found myself reminiscing about the past year, longingly. As if the year was deserving of fondness, but isn’t there is a part of us that romanticizes the past, even if it was a time of tribulation and conflict and personal despair? We cultivate a pained adoration of the then, even if it didn’t seem quite so adorable then.
We are peculiar creatures and we have peculiar brains, and all that ensues from that organ does not follow sequential logic.
On a broader, societal level, 2020 was not a bad year for me. I did not lose my job, I did not lose my life or fall ill, nor did anyone in my closest circles. Other than some personal issues which were exacerbated by the pandemic’s general pall and excruciating politicization, I emerged unscathed. I worked from home and thus gained about 3 hours per day.
Still, only a fool would feel “good” about 2020.
The healthy soul is grateful for what he did not lose while the fiend gloats. I don’t care if you were an anti-masker or an “it’s only the flu” bro, you were affected. In fact, you were probably affected on a profoundly personal level, whether you recognize it or not.
Our existence was jolted by a cultural cattle prod and then we were abandoned, left to fend in our own idiosyncratic ways. The raging comorbidity that defined modern technocratic life left us defenseless. Society was weakened and the parasites of our culture rose and devoured the remaining scraps.
Today’s society is erected on an artifice of cohesion and consumption, but the vulnerabilities exploited by 2020’s events brought the delicate construction crashing down, exposing the ruin within. The trauma was consuming and diffused. We all experienced it in varying degrees and collectively, the wave was ominous.
Today, we stand on the precipice of 2021.
Twenty-twenty is “behind” us. The artifices of consumption (vaccines) and cohesion (Biden) are back with promises of deferring pain for immediate sedation. In time, Pfizer Inc. and Democratic Renewal, LLC, will see to it that any suffocating sensation of reality is smothered in sweet frosting. For now, the immediate memories still breathe in our tissues. The existential whiplash of the world’s collision with the wall that was 2020 reverberates in our skulls.
What effect will this have on society. Is “collective PTSD” a thing?
Will the commonalities of our shared experience foster a mass trauma across the functioning of our society over the next few years as the pandemic generation comes of age?
Has it begun right beneath our nose?