Welcome to The New Weird, The New Normal of the Post Pandemic Age

Photo by Sayan Ghosh on Unsplash

The Covid 19 Pandemic disrupted the world in previously unthinkable ways. Who would have thought that at the dawn of the New Year of 2020, that we would be forced into lockdowns, quarantine, and would have to forego what were the bases of our existence before the pandemic struck. Even as nations worldwide emerge cautiously with vaccinations, booster doses, and the like, there is a lingering sense of “weirdness” about our lives. Indeed, The New Normal of the Post Pandemic Age is anything but what we consider “normal” and is instead, The New Weird.

Take for instance, the job market. While jobs are aplenty and hiring zooming ahead, employers are failing to find enough workers to fill them. With trends such as The Great Resignation, where Millions of professionals are quitting their jobs en masse and with employee activism at its peak, it is anything but “normal” for firms looking to find their footing in the Post Pandemic Age. Moreover, who would have thought that WFH or Work From Home and Remote Work or Work From Anywhere would become the norm, rather than the exception, and is one of the reasons why people are quitting their full time jobs. This is the New Reality for employers and employees alike and it sure feels “weird”.

Now, the Economy. With the stock markets booming and minimum wages inching higher, any sane response would be to celebrate and rejoice that the worst is over. However, survey after survey brings home the widespread “dissatisfaction” among people, either over inflation, which is real but expected when economies roar back to life after hibernating, or over the lack of “quick results”. Indeed, The New Weird can be said to be all about this i.e. the tendency to expect everything to happen instantaneously without the patience or the forbearance to “wait” for the “profound slowness” that real change needs. This is what the futurist and author, Douglas Rushkoff, says is the Present Shock when everything happens now.

This expectation of quick fixes and instant solutions is what is making us feel weird even about our “victories”. We post on Social Media, and we want more even when our posts go viral. Indeed, the other dimension of The New Weird, is the virality of our times, when the combination of Present Shock and accelerating speed of communications, make us Manic Depressive where intense bouts of “euphoric highs” are followed by lows of depression. This is the Desert of the Real where the constant need to propitiate at the Altar of Dopamine hits is so pressing that we are lost in a miasma of constant need for the “fix” that is so ever elusive and so near, yet so far. We have all become “junkies”.

Doesn’t all this feel weird? The replacement of physical contact and real face to face interaction with virtual relationships that fail so often to provide us the meaningful satisfaction that we were used to before the pandemic. Agreed, that the Digital Age is upon us and our digitally mediated existence is The New Normal. However, it sure feels weird when our lives revolve around our Smartphones, and nothing seems like it was earlier. With skyrocketing suicide rates and stratospheric increases of instances of loneliness among people, it sure looks like societies are in the grip of this The New Weird.

Last, we hear that the pandemic is under control, until a new “variant” emerges to shake our complacency. We need boosters, how many we do not know. And our “leaders” are as clueless as the rest of our “experts” on where all this is headed. Worse, they are so busy “promoting” outright lies and falsehoods that Fake News is no longer a menace, but a real threat to our civilization. In this blizzard of contradictory feelings, our connection to what we thought was “real” is at best, tenuous, and at worst, induces breakdowns. One moment it is Manna from Heaven, and the next moment, it is a descent into a New Dark Age. Welcome to The New Weird, The New Normal of the Post Pandemic Age.