Wednesday, March 25, 2020
In times like these, our concepts of 'time' and 'space' are bound to change. It increasingly feels that space has imploded while time has slowed down but passes with a greater intensity especially in moments of anxiety but also in moments of awe. The confined space and the slower pace of time, are also bound to intensify all kinds of emotions we feel.
In some ways the submission to forces over which we have little control, can be liberating as we are less bound by the rules governing life in a capitalist economy. Sure enough many who have lost their jobs or are at risk of losing them, can't even savor this freedom. This is why in times like these the socialization of risks for all and not just the few, becomes imperative. Still in some ways we are now excused from partaking in the rat race and for giving more importance to more basic things. Still there is also the negative aspect of living in a state of suspended animation, where we are even denied of experiencing the contrasts between daily routine and our private spaces, because these have been forcibly intertwined. For example working from home may have advantages like having more control over the pace of work but it also results in the annexation of the domestic realm to the work world. Sure it feels a bit like a return to pre-modern times when certain jobs were subcontracted to households. The problem here is that the change for some of us has happened suddenly and abruptly. I even find it difficult to read a book: because I mostly enjoy carrying out a book with me in my bag, to read it in the those precious intervals interspersed in different moments along the day. Now that life has itself become one long interval, I am less interested in reading. Writing also becomes an act of chronicling this particular moment in time perhaps in attempt to tame it.
What's sure is that this is a time for seeking solace in beauty and savoring sweet good things like chocolate. It is only natural in times like this to look for those things and interactions which soothe us. That may even explain the popularity of Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci whose soothing voice not only gives us collective reassurance but whose daily bulletins have established a new collective routine and demarcation of time.
But the most rewarding experience is the joy of simple acts like watching the rain from the window sill while eating nutella and daydreaming. So let's enjoy these small 'deep' moments before the monsters are unleashed on us again. For life after corona may well end up a race to catch up to where we have left. Sure enough there is a lot to catch up in the realm of human relations interrupted by COVID-19. The problem is that capitalism may well press on the accelerator to get us back on track to yet another disaster. Alternatively we may dare demand a prolonged time out, to be enjoyed outside the confined spaces imposed on us by the virus.