Covid-19 (one of its variants, obviously) came to visit me two weeks ago and only yesterday did I finally test negative again. It was hell. Seriously. No light flu-like version because of protection offered by my four vaccinations. But it is very probable that because of those vaccinations I’m here now and able to talk about the horrors of my experience. Well, I’m not going to go into detail, but I had a high fever for at least 4 or 5 days, breathing was difficult, but I was able to develop a technique that facilitated regular and fairly shallow breathing, combined with a type of mental mantra accompanying the ritual of “in through the nose, out through the mouth” while my fevered brain pictured a light source I could focus on in order to hold the breathing ritual in place.
The fact that I had to resort to this yoga-like ritual should already give you a clue to how deep down I had to go in order to fight the nasty virus. No, I am not religious. I didn’t pray. I used techniques of body control written down thousands of years ago, tried and tested techniques, and they proved sufficient for my needs during my illness. I use the bits and pieces of these teachings as I need them and I do not give them mystical powers. They are body-related techniques that can help in certain situations. Nothing more.
After the fever finally broke, I had a huge explosion of energy. That was when I wrote my previous article, late into the night, feeling like a superman with a super clear brain able to see everything so well, especially the political landscape. I was still riddled with Covid of course and the next day body weakness took over and I slept three times for at least 3 or 4 hours in each sleep session. Exhausted. My anger, however, was rising on a daily basis. I was angry that Covid had chosen me, I was angry at the lady who brought it into our house, I was angry at the lady relative in our family chat who said: Männergrippe when I announced that I had Covid. I was not familiar with the term Männergrippe, so I commented on the description by saying that Covid had no gender, it attacked all indiscriminately. Then I found out that Männergrippe was just how some German women describe men complaining of their ailments, imagining them to complain loudly about little things – unlike what women do. That infuriated me even more because I had announced Covid, not some sniffles or a hangover headache. And I hadn’t complained at all, had only made the announcement. My anger was on the rise again.
During the tail end of the two weeks I went to the test center 3 times, even got a PCR test, but I was still positive for the virus. My anger started turning inwards and I could feel the depression begin. No action for my body. No improvement in my status (though I was feeling better as far as fever and coughing were concerned). Anger at everyone and at the whole world. Reading about the war in Ukraine and the atrocities and the constant drivel of right-wing propaganda here and in the USA was having its own negative effect. Or positive effect if anger and irrationality can be seen as the positive result of negative news.
Confused? I was most certainly.
My imagination was trying to figure out a way Russia could be nuked out of existence while the rest of the world survived intact. And then my mental foot hit the brakes, hard! That’s how nut jobs think. Me? A nut job? I could feel myself morphing into a nut job. More anger and crazy thinking would soon have me trolling right-wing sites and commentators, maybe even threatening them with grievous bodily harm. This could not be the person I wanted to become, not a mirror image of the right-wing trolls who are thick as swamp mosquitoes in the social media jungle.
How could I avoid that fate?
First of all, as luck would have it, I have absolutely no presence on social media. No Facebook (still counts as social media though it’s getting to be obsolete), no Instagram, no Twitter, no TikTok, nothing. Second: I don’t subscribe to anything or anyone. No news feeds, no following anyone. And third, my web-browser functions most of the time in Private mode, has at least 5 AdBlockers and, when I want to, I use VPN from riseup.net. So, although I could remain anonymous while trolling, I am just not really that off my rails enough to do it. Yet.
Anything is possible of course. I sent some pretty weird shit out to some people I know; a couple of them are journalists who previously made some positive comments about stuff I sent. But there has been silence from them since I sent out a short piece wherein I claimed (satirically, ironically, humorously, I thought) that actually Russia had it all wrong by attacking Ukraine and claiming it belonged to Russia because it was Catherine The Great who conquered all that territory and she was actually German, so if anyone has a claim on the territory it should be Germany. Ha ha. Nobody laughed. Nut job? Me? Well, I suppose I can’t blame anyone for thinking that, since the argument was pretty ridiculous and the way I worded it sounded like I was serious. I wasn’t, but people need to know up front that you are “just kidding” or cancellation is swift and most times permanent.
Then I wrote the article about right-wing kill lists, kill squads and how bloodthirsty those people are turning out to be. From a distance or 10 days or so, it now does sound a tiny bit hysterical. Not necessarily wrong. Not necessarily nut job material. But kind of hysterical. I was really angry at the time. My fever had been replaced by rage at the injustice of children being separated from their parents and transported to Russia to be given to who knows what kind of family of true believers in the nationalistic bullshit that dominates Russian propaganda. It is the aim of these monsters to actually expunge all memory of Ukrainian parents from the lives of these children. Oh, and you think that is difficult to do? Not really. During the two weeks I have been ill, I haven’t seen or talked to the new baby in the family (he’ll be 2 years old in a few weeks). Yesterday, after my negative result, I saw him again for the first time. It took me over 5 minutes of talking and playing with him for his memory to come back. “DANNY!” he said at last as the memories of our previous encounters returned to his consciousness. I could suddenly see the memory in his eyes. He smiled and understood it was me. And that is after only 2 weeks. Think about how it will be for the stolen children after 2 years, 12 years, 20 years. No memory of the past will remain if they are young enough when they are ripped away from home.
And what about the parents? Were the parents simply killed? First take the children then kill the parents, or what? Nobody talks about the parents and what has happened to them. You certainly don’t think they are living it up at some Black Sea resort near Sochi, do you?
You see how easy it is for the anger to grip and the possible nut job to emerge? I can sense my irrationality just below the surface. I’m not immune to Covid, I’m not immune to irrationality. The question is whether or not it becomes a rational choice or whether one just slides into it, crosses a vague line that one sees but the line is so vague that it’s only when you are on the other side of it that you notice, and then suddenly you have to make a conscious choice to go back, to return to rationality. And of course it is so much easier to just continue, to march into the land of crazy and join the celebration of the irrational, which I imagine is like a never-ending new year’s party, with balloons dropping and fireworks exploding and a non-stop flow of liquor and drugs and the heady feeling that now, now, now something earthshaking is going to happen, and it’s all going to change suddenly into the perfect utopian future or the perfectly dystopian future where death and destruction become normal, and it’s all because of me, because of my comments, because of what I have said or written or thrown out into the world. Me. Nut job.
Written words are actions because they have been written, and actions have consequences. So by gripping rationality instead of the irrational, I accept the consequences. The consequences of being rational. And for the most part, the consequences of being rational are that you remain frustrated and angry. Why? Because irrationality acts and destroys and has no moral compass and doesn’t care about the destruction it causes. In fact, irrationality is drunk on death and destruction and the people in its grip cannot imagine that they can ever lose because the cumulative effect of this death and destruction gives the irrational a power that blinds it to everything else, especially to rationality.
Rationality has the impediment of logical thinking, the weighing of good vs. evil, the contemplation of law and justice coupled with coherent argumentation which results in a discovery of the truth and putting injustice and evil to rest. But of course that only works when both sides agree to be rational. Truth has been made relative and it is my truth that is most important, not yours (or the truth).
Everyone (?) knows that war is an irrational answer to – most of the time – greed. Greed is often cloaked in ideology or religious doctrine, or both, and it attempts to give the perpetrators of irrationality a mask to hide behind, a system of belief to use as a reason for their irrational behavior. Anyone with a smidgen of rationality can perfectly understand that stoning a man, woman or child to death is completely irrational. And yet, there are people who are convinced that it is OK to do that because it is written in a book that they think is either sacred or is the law. It gives them a reason (which they mistake for rationality) to perpetrate the most hideous crimes.
So, the question arises: When must irrationality be opposed with violence (especially when you understand full well that violence breeds violence, breeds irrationality) in order to rid the scourge from the world? At what point could everyone agree that going to war against the Nazis was not just OK, but that it was a good thing, a thing that had to be done? Had even rational people become nut jobs at that point?
When will it be time once again to use violence to oppose the irrationality which is trying to dominate the world? Is that time now? Is it never? When? And will we decide by committee or individually?
That’s where I’ll leave it for you to think about, because I certainly don’t want to open myself up to the charge: Nut Job? Me?