Groundhog day life: it is worth a thought that there are people who live Groundhog day because they were born with a disability, have sustained a long term brain injury, those who have lived their lives and are now elderly, and there many exemplary situations which can help people to change their behaviours to live as we must with the virus COVID-19 until a vaccine is available and that could be in 2021, 2022; the real truth is that we must realise that there may be no vaccine. I live Groundhog Day – abiding by a rigid routine because cognitive impairment means that memories formed enter oblivion but I learned to cope through routine and using the benefits of a technology.
The Pandemic has caused a an acceleration and change is thrust upon us and the challenge is to engage. Part of my rehabilitation over the last 30 years has been caterpulted to near “normal” because of these advances in technology hence I can write on WordPress, publish a book on Amazon and everyday I use Twitter to re-engage from an empty brain to hook up with society. Some people use Twitter daily to upload famous paintings; other’s historical events; others are politics fanatics; others just chit chat. We will ignore those who are trolls. I use “Twitter to augment my memory” as do others who have sustained a brain injury or stroke. Everyday I seek out a quote that may be appropriate to news on that day. I then look for quotations that may be relevant and I send them at random to people I think may be interested in them.
I was talking to two interesting people who lived in South Korea and we discussed the differences in culture. Breaking rules is part of our culture in Ireland having been subjugated to colonial rule for over 700 years, hence there are sound historic reasons for this. China differs. we talk about Autocracy of the ruling elite but in reality it is more to do with the word “Altruism” and the ordinary majority of people; Confucius thinking prevails and the Chinese people tend to and aspire to take account of others so that when it was understood that the masks would benefit other people; they adapted promptly and masks were worn; they were a priority because by wearing a mask you ensure the virus will not pass to other people who are in your company.
Instead I will meander through an experience that is not yet one year old and that is COVID-19 and how it has impacted on a global scale beyond all human comprehension. I will start with the two major players, China and the United States of America, one an ancient culture and aspirational to be the leader again and the United States of America, the assumed Guardian of the weaker countries in the world and possibly losing territory. They share in that both have experienced pandemics within the last 100 years, in America in 1918 there was The Great Influenza which travelled by rail and boat globally killing somewhere between 50 and 100 million people, more than the number killed in World War I 1914-18. China 2020 Wuhan, Hubei province SARS.CoV.2, the disease COVID-19, a zoonotic transmission from animal to human and then passed from human to human.
Everyday I choose a tweet with a quote and often a comment:-
Autumnal & beautiful. Not a reprimand but a suggestion. Leeson Street, Dublin 2, pupils gathered in huddles unaware of realities of COVID-19;
Tell people – and they may forget
Show them – they may remember
BUT involve them and they will understand
Confucius 551-479 BC
Confucius “Master Kǒng”; 551–479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period. Confucius founded the Confucian (Confucianism) school of thinking. It emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. While Confucians emphasize personal cultivation of character, they give priority not to the individual but to the family, community, and the world. The Confucian approach to learning and education, which emphasizes humanity and service to others, is of significant value to the modern world. The emphasis of Confucian learning is on the search for personal strength and the commitment to social responsibility. Confucius believed in the equality and educability of all people. He viewed education as a means of transformation, the discovery of human nature, and the cultivation of character.
Globalisation opened up trade between countries and trading blocs like the US, UK, EU, South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia (and they have strong links forged with Russia) to each other. What is interesting at this point is to note China’s Confucian belief system and how they have established Confucian Institutes in countries especially the US, where their interaction is already attracting attention. Universities in America welcome large tranches of investment from overseas and exchange programmes especially in the area of research. They have accepted Confucian Institutes attached to many of their most prestigious universities. However, President Trump won the 2016 election using the slogan “Make America Great Again”; it was about getting American people back into the workforce and encouraging companies based abroad, often for tax purposes, to return to the US and create the much needed employment. China became a target. https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1200100.shtml Today we await the result of the November 3rd, 2020 US election to know if President Trump will continue in office or will it be Biden?
1918 was the year of The Great Influenza, starting in the US and spreading throughout the world. Between 50 million and 100 million people died; it was more than the number of people killed in World War II. December 2019, it was Wujan, Hubei province China that resulted in the present day pandemic SARS-CoV-2, known as COVID-19; it is the re-emergence of the coronavirus. The difference this time is that the information was delayed; a holiday involved people travelling and spreading the virus and this time it was by way airline travel. No borders just a massive spread throughout the global population.
Marching Plague, Germ warfare and Global Pandemic by Critical Art Ensemble. Why? Because we need to know about Bioterrorism and its potential in the 21st century. COVID-19 is a pandemic but the following quotation explains that the source of terror can be orchestrated in a laboratory too. It is Bioterrorism that incurs Military Industrial Complex funding which could be used to fund an adequate and proper public health system especially in the US, which is in chaos as a result of COVID-19 and sustaining economic lockdowns that have forced into a recesssion that is predicted to be a depression comparable to that in the 1930’s.
A press release from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre:-
Bioterrorism is the greatest national security threat of the 21st Century. Bioweapons attacks could cause death and suffering on a catastrophic scale, wreak enormous economic and social disruption, and even threaten core democratic processes. Adequate defence does not depend on our military strength but on medical and public health systems and availability of effective drugs and vaccines….(Critical Art Ensemble pg 18).
COVID-19 is not an act of bioterrorism; but its impact and its implications socially, economically and to the health of people, are playing out each hour of every day in every country and continent in real time. What we can assume is that there are “Preparedness Plans” in place. We know diseases like smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella have caused many deaths but vaccines through expertise and specialised medical endeavours, and a proactive system of public health, have ensured that people are inoculated and therefore will not die from these viruses. What COVID-19 warns us is that the improbability of germ warfare and the over-spending on research into same leaves public health underfunded for research into diseases that kill millions of people every year. Not since the 1960’s has there been significant pressure from citizen groups and scientific professionals to end germ warfare programs (Central Art Ensemble pg 40)
Communism is the nucleus of the politics of China; and Capitalism is core to the doctrine of the democracy of the US. The irony is the Pandemic COVID-19 is beyond borders. China is moving hundred’s of millions out of sheer poverty and this aided by trade deals with other countries especially the US which was facilitated by a move by countries from protectionism to globablisation. However what we do know is that capitalism in the US directed funds which would otherwise have been spent in public health into the war machine and this is now challenged and could result in a change beyond expectations for what is medical health provision in the US and a system of proper health made available to all citizens of the country without having to pay; as is the practice in the UK through the NHS and in many EU countries. Health surely is a basic human right. We can learn from Cuba’s health system which is free to all and who send their medical teams to disaster locations all over the world as an intervention team.
Capitalism has a major faultline and that is the production of poverty. Too often people are packed together in ghettos; there is improper water and sewage treatment. Capitalism unsupervised mindlessly eliminates surplus populations by “sheer neglect”., Central Art Ensemble, (pg 101) Capitalism has created the engines of growth to eliminate such poverty by a fairer redistribution of wealth but that the reality in First World countries, in particular, is that engine of growth is for the wealthy and not the poor who outnumber the weatlhy.
I have selected this quotation from Gore Vidal because he clearly makes the statement that monothesism although embedded in our world, causing military interventions and hostilities throughout the world, in favour of Confucianism, which as he says “is not a religion but an “ethical and educational system”.
“I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam – good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system. Gore VidalGore Vidal
Is this why “containment of the virus” was so successful in the Asian countries? Is this why the capitalist driven, extremely wealthy physicians lose faith in their mission in life and as many as one lecture theatre in a university, commit suicide each year. It would be interesting to know about doctors and suicide in China? The word “vocation” to working in the health system in most first world countries is long forgotten and without a vocation or a Confucian belief system medicine fails to reward people with wealth as its only driving force.
Sir Angus Deaton; Anne Case coined the expression “Deaths of Despair…the end of Capitalism” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXf-xcR8bdA
Physicians/Doctors who commit suicide: To mother, a nurse and her little 7 month old baby who died today. We must learn to understand people; not to stigmatise them or shame them. https://www.ted.com/talks/dominic_king_physician_suicide_what_medical_students_need_to_know/up-next
Hope: Greek Prime Minister talking with Yuval Noah Harari 4th October 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjUyZLvFGuw
Book: “Fortune Favours the Brave”
by Michelle Marcella Clarke