I want to share with you two reflective pieces about our mental (or spiritual?) state during lockdown, and one resource that sparks my hope for humanity actually rising to the challenge of this pandemic.
The two essays are from The Correspondent, a new “unbreaking news” source I joined last year as a charter member.
Lynn Berger gives us a poignant piece, writing as someone whose family had just moved house in the Netherlands when the schools closed; they had no historical basis to consider the place they suddenly could not leave as “home.” She writes:
Just as the whole country was about to go into lockdown, we turned the key in our new front door… There’s a game I played as a child: I would pick a word, any word, and say it over and over until the sound became absurd, meaningless, foreign. For me, this is exactly what the pandemic has done to the word “home.” … It seems to me that “home” is only truly a “home” when you have the option to leave it; when it’s a place to return to, rather than a place where you have to stay. But we are all less free to go now – and if you can’t go out, you can’t come home either.
The piece is illustrated with photos from the book Living Room by the German photographer Jana Sophia Nolle, who recreated the makeshift dwellings of the homeless in the living rooms of the better-off in San Francisco.
This intimate essay by Irene Caselli, writing from Naples, describes a state of mind I expect some of us may share after weeks at home.
Since the lockdown started in Italy seven weeks ago, I’ve been stuck in a fog-like state of mind. I know there is an outside world where I would previously go out for a walk and kiss people hello. But the fog is so thick that I sometimes wonder if all of that really existed.
I concur with Caselli — I have become more foggy. Despite having a relatively easy time of it so far, the sameness of the days (is this April or Wednesday?) does begin to wear. Forty-nine days now and counting.
One hundred seventy-eight treatments are listed in some stage of testing or clinical trials. Ninety-six possible vaccines are shown under development or test.
This vast human effort, representing probably tens of millions of person-hours, has been mounted inside of four months’ time. Humanity is flexing its super-power — cooperative work — on a scale never before seen. The virus has prompted a massive leap forward in the scope of human scientific collaboration. It gives me hope that we will actually beat this thing, and will emerge stronger.