The Death Count

By Jonathan Timar
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I am sure you’ve heard about the death count recently. Or maybe you haven’t, because now it’s all about “cases”.

Allegory of the Cave
Allegory of the Cave
Credit: 4edges, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m not even going to bother trying to put that in perspective for anyone. Hundreds, if not thousands, of other people smarter and more credentialed than myself seem to be failing to get through to people, all the while being censored and smeared by the gatekeepers in The Media and Big Tech (who care about us and our well-being deeply, don’t you know?).

So this isn’t going to be about the facts as I know them, or even a desperate appeal to logic, reason, perspective and common sense. In fact, reading over what I’ve written so far, this is more of an obituary than anything else. I’m not going to cite many sources and probably won’t even link to anything. If you want to know, you already know, and if you don’t, if you are committed to your belief in The Science and not science, nothing I say or present to you is gong to lead you to apostasy. That ship has sailed, the world has gone mad, and I’m sure as hell not going to be the one to steer it back. What will be will be. And some of you are probably already getting angry with me, if you got here via email you’re already reaching for that unsubscribe link. So be it.

Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’

But I do want to talk about what I’m thinking and feeling, and what my current reality is:

Death.

Most of the people I know are only thinking about one kind of death. The actual deaths from (but mostly with) The Virus. And I suppose I can’t blame them. They are being bombarded with it constantly through their social media and the evening news. Just a great big scary number always presented without the context or comparisons that would surely put it into perspective and place their minds at ease. But I jest, placing minds at ease is not on the agenda these days.

And I’m not even going to talk about the other deaths, like those from the skyrocketing suicide rate, or un-diagnosed and treated cancer.

No, I am talking about all the other kinds of deaths. Some of them seem so inconsequential and you may not even realize their importance: the death of sharing a smile with your cashier at the grocery store or your barista. The death of making small talk with strangers at the pub or brewery. The death of visiting a cafe being a respite rather than an ordeal (seriously, learn to make coffee at home, it’s better and the one good reason to going to a cafe; the experience, it sucks now).

I could fill many paragraphs with examples, but it all really boils down to this: everything that used to be enjoyable is now not. Leisure activities that are still allowed (but for how long, the trajectory is not good at the time of this writing) are now regimented and come with so many rules and caveats that they are barely worth it. Activities that lean more towards chores such as visiting the grocery store have had all the pleasurable aspects stripped away and all that’s left behind is an ordeal where must venture into the masked-zombie apocalypse, where social trust is dead and you wonder constantly who among you is participating in this preposterous pantomime because they are a True Believer and who is just doing it so no one yells at them. Well, you’ll never find out because at this point we’ve all been well trained not to talk to strangers, or even look at them if you can help it.

And if you recall, and you probably don’t, this was only going to be for two weeks to “flatten the curve”, but now our “health” authorities are saying that really we’ll have to live this way for years (go look it up) even after the magic vaccine comes along. And of course that’s patently ridiculous and in no way rational or necessary given the actual facts about The Virus, but I no longer have any doubt that it will happen.

They broke people, starting with their memories.

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    “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. Oh cruel, needless misunderstanding! Oh stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”George Orwell – 1984

    People are so very easily herded it seems, and if you doubt that just think about the sudden obsession with toilet paper. Monkey see, monkey do.

    And finally, I get to the kind of death that prompted this post: the death of friendships and relationships.

    “There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”Leonardo da Vinci

    The divisions that were already building in society came to a head over these past few months. You probably think I am talking about politics. I am not. It is bigger than that, politics is just one expression of it. The most base and visible manifestation of a far deeper issue.

    I came across a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci recently. He said, “there are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” Sadly, it seems now very evident to me that the vast majority are in the latter category.

    A friend of mine lashed out at me today for sharing information “from Twitter” with him. He told me he didn’t want to be “exposed to a massive opinion pool without context”. Well, silly me. I always thought being exposed to a variety of opinions was good thing, that’s actually where you find the context, and it’s more critically important in this era where most journalists are really activists, and “journalism” itself mostly consists of pulling pre-written stories off a wire service and juggling some words around. Oh well. I tried.

    Well here’s the thing; we’ve been “socially distanced” so long that instead of having a discussion he lashed out at me, and was pretty rude about it. I can’t even blame him, I did something similar to someone else a while back.

    But that’s the meat of it, you know. If governments tomorrow suddenly returned to rationality and told people to start acting human again, I don’t think the damage (just read the comments) can be undone. If the next time I saw a friend they finally gave me warm hug like the good old days instead of treating me, irrationally, and at the urging of out of control, misanthropic, governments, bureaucrats and media personalities, would I feel that warmth or would I be left cold?

    I fear it’s the latter, and the list of people, be they friends, family, or other whom I still maintain a level of respect and affection for great enough to make we want to spend my precious time on earth with them grows very short. I suspect they feel similarly about me, and thus I expect that no matter what the future holds these people will likely become nothing more than background noise. It’s all very said, but I don’t care to expend energy counter-acting militant ignorance anymore.

    Plato, in the Allegory of the Cave explained it: “Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.”

    Oh well. It is what it is.