Monday, 30 March 2020

Will Developed Nations Have an “Attitude Reset” Following Covid-19?

Criticism is easy…..

As a citizen of one of the richest countries on Earth, I consider myself extremely fortunate.
However, I am far from the first to consider that over the last decade or two, we have increasingly implemented our own, voluntary “social distancing”, through the myriad forms of social media we adopt.

There are many positive societal effects that these platforms deliver.  Crowd Funding and the recent minutes applause for the efforts of the NHS are unprecedented, positive outcomes that would have been impossible to choreograph in previous generations.

Currently, social platforms are playing a vital role in ensuring that everyone can maintain critical links with friends, colleagues and loved ones.  Speaking as someone who has seen no-one in person, including my kids, for ten days, I can attest to the value of that!

At the same time, it is hard to deny that they also create less desirable by-products….. The obvious, such as cyberbullying and trolling, online hate crimes and the proliferation of extremist ideologies of all types.  As well as less obvious, but equally pervasive issues, such as inculcating the necessity for instant gratification, or the requirement for constant attention, approval and feedback regarding the minutiae of daily life.  There is also the apparent increase in social anxiety and in some the sense of relative deprivation, due to the onslaught of information regarding everyone else’s apparently perfect existences…..

Online consumerism has irrevocably affected traditional retail and the human interaction it generates, as well as the economic and personal hardships that have accompanied the decline of that sector.

My social skills have certainly suffered as my default mode of interaction has become virtual….. undoubtedly I spend more time alone in willing and voluntary isolation than was never my intention, but it is the outcome nonetheless.

It has been alarming (and also liberating) to witness how quickly all the things we consider immutable and vital to our existence have dropped away in the space of a few short weeks…. Yet the Sun is still shining, the bees are buzzing and as artificial constructs are hibernating, the natural world is springing back to life.

In light of this and the devastation the current situation is wreaking upon so many, let’s hope that when this passes the entitled will feel a little less so and we can all reset our compasses in line with what really matters….. as opposed to what truly doesn’t.


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