It would be an understatement to say that the Covid 19 Pandemic disrupted our world in ways that would have been unimaginable even a couple of years ago. What started as a local outbreak in Wuhan, China, morphed into a highly virulent and hugely dislocating Pandemic, thanks to our interconnected world. In a way, Covid 19 was globalization’s curse on the entire world, just like The Great Recession of 2008, on the Global Financial System. Hence, it is unsurprising that nations worldwide closed their borders, banned international travel, and quarantined even the trickle of travelers who were either evacuated or permitted under emergency conditions. Moreover, given that our globalized world contributed to the spread of the virus and the many variants, countries were quick to turn inward, much like India that adopted an Atmanirbhar Policy or a Nation First economic approach.
Now that the Pandemic seems to be receding as this report puts it, it is evident that all of us need to adjust to the New Normal. The Pandemic forced us indoors and made WFH or Work From Home the norm for all and led to increased or for that matter, complete dependence on the online media and use of technology as the sole driver of human interactions. Moreover, the Pandemic also brought to the fore the limitations of the Neoliberal model in vogue in most of the world before it struck. Above all, it made each for themselves or a mad race for survival where community came second to the need for self preservation. Indeed, Covid was the ultimate triumph of the rugged individualism of Ayn Rand, the American novelist, who was the High Priestess of Free Market Capitalism.
As we emerge from the Caves that we found ourselves in for the better part of two years, it is clear that all of us are experiencing the Post Pandemic Blues. Whether it is professionals quitting en masse, or what has been dubbed as the Great Resignation, or the Revenge Tourism, where people have been flocking to tourist spots in droves, just for the heck of it, or the Global Supply Chain Crisis, all these are manifestations of a world that was shocked into submission and is only now beginning to recover its wits. Indeed, just like the Proverbial Deer blinded by the Lights and later coming to its senses, what the world is now going through is an adjustment to the New Normal and an Adaptation to a landscape irrevocably changed by the Pandemic. Fans of Naomi Klein, the Anti Capitalist Writer, would recognize that this is the effect of the Shock Doctrine where the patients administered shocks are now regaining their senses.
If we look at any of the Post Pandemic Blues mentioned above, it is clear that all of them share the Virality aspect, common to both the virus and the technological world we live in. Just like technology is making us act without thinking and Tweets and Social Media posts go viral in no time, influencing human behavior, so too are the Post Pandemic Blues where caution and prudence are thrown to the wind, and humans act in ways where the Present is the only thing that matters. Indeed, the term Present Shock, coined by the Futurist and Author, Douglas Rushkoff, aptly describes our current state of the world, where the tendency to think only for the now, is what drives people. As mentioned earlier, the Pandemic years dependence on technology has exacerbated an already accelerating world leading us to a point where we have become the slaves of tech.
Last, the Post Pandemic Blues are also playing out in the streets of cities around the world. As we resume our worldly interactions, the forced confinement and the struggle for existence of even the moderately well off, have made us all suspicious of each other and a rupturing of the Social Contract is evident. Crimes rates are zooming as are cases of irrational and downright insane behavior, such as the protests against Masks and Vaccines, as are the violent and chaotic cases of mass unrest that are more frequent than earlier. The Post Pandemic New Normal is sure going to be one hell of a bumpy ride, and much like the Junkie coming off the Highs, we all need some healthy dose of good medicine and sunlight that can hopefully restore some much needed balance and sanity in our lives.
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