Social Distancing, Alienation and Tyranny

 

When we keep our distance from people, we are continually reminded that the world is less safe than ever. Other people potentially endanger our lives; after all, whom do we believe when we read the data about which people endanger us and who is most vulnerable? Ultimately our fear will move us to protecting ourselves by accepting the tyranny of the State. Let me explain:

When we social distance, we are intentionally separating ourselves from others. We limit our exposure to large groups: weddings are limited in size or are broadcast on zoom; funerals leave us vulnerable to exposure; going to church has become a hassle as people try to keep their distance from each other; even small family gatherings could be dangerous.

Many things emerge when we limit our physical time with others, even for those who are introverts. We adjust to being alone. Going out to be with others is an inconvenience; it’s easier just to hunker down and keep our own company. Moments shared with others occur more and more often by email, text or over the phone. Or are just dropped completely.

The novelty and convenience of working at home contributes to the weakening of interpersonal relationships.

Over time our isolation, which seemed troublesome at first, becomes familiar, even comfortable.

At the same time relationships become more superficial, simply because they aren’t nurtured. We hear of other people who don’t take government limitations to “protect us” seriously. We wonder if we can trust those people, if they care about the welfare of others, if we want to maintain a relationship with them. After all, relationships are an investment of time, energy, and commitment. They require us to be open and vulnerable; who wants to be in that position in these fragile times?

So, who or what can we turn to? The State?

The State is the entity that is working on treatments for the virus, and vaccines, too. The State is watching out for us, calling for people to report on others who are violating the rules. Shaming, blaming and criticism are encouraged to bring people in line. At various times, mayors and governors have re-established lockdowns to “protect the public.” Teachers, unions, government officials and parents are locked in battles regarding the re-opening of schools. Eventually, someone will need to step in for a variety of situations to establish order, peace and consistency.

The State will be happy to comply.

For those people who think this scenario won’t happen, keep these factors in mind:

  • Relationships among people will continue to fracture; trust will decline.
  • Conflicting agendas among groups will create more dissension because underneath the conflicts are their fears about living and dying.
  • Power struggles will intensify.
  • People will look for someone or something to bring order to the chaos.

Out of desperation for some level of stability, the people will welcome the State’s issuing rules, regulations, and laws.

We will be free from the chaos, but little else.

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  1. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    I still dislike people going into traffic if they are approaching me on the sidewalk.  I’m not that scary looking.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Those who walk into our quiet streets at least do it with a smile on their faces. But lots still insist on giving me extra space!

    • #2
  3. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    I object to the adding of extra bars to make something resemble a swastika, because it increases the likelihood that idiots are going to start protesting the Manx flag, and I like the Manx flag.  We’ve already allowed Hitler to completely ruin one ancient symbol for the rest of us, let’s not ruin other completely unrelated symbols as well.

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Your post was precisely the sort of thing I was thinking about as I watched the Brave New World production on Peacock (the NBC streaming service) embedded in Comcast. There was a scene of an Epsilon awaking for a new work day in his own stark studio apartment to a glowing sun shining in from the full wall window. As he stands and faces the day, the camera shifts view to the exterior of the window. From there the camera pulls back and reveals the massive complex of separate studio apartments with an Epsilon standing at the full wall window of each apartment, starting their day in unison and isolation.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Your post was precisely the sort of thing I was thinking about as I watched the Brave New World production on Peacock (the NBC streaming service) embedded in Comcast. There was a scene of an Epsilon awaking for a new work day in his own stark studio apartment to a glowing sun shining in from the full wall window. As he stands and faces the day, the camera shifts view to the exterior of the window. From there the camera pulls back and reveals the massive complex of separate studio apartments with an Epsilon standing at the full wall window of each apartment, starting their day in unison and isolation.

    Wow. That is chilling. Way too close for comfort, yet illustrative. Thanks for that example, @rodin.

    • #5
  6. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    I still dislike people going into traffic if they are approaching me on the sidewalk. I’m not that scary looking.

    Exactly. I have to keep reminding myself, “It’s not me, it’s the times.”

    • #6
  7. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Susan, I’ve noticed more and more people wearing masks outside.  I’ve seen people wearing masks as they walk alone, without anyone nearby.  I’ve even seen people wearing masks inside of cars. 

    What’s going on.  Don’t these people read about the scant chance they have of catching the virus outside?

    Are we unusual out here in Oregon, or is this happening around the U.S.?

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The media keeps exaggerating the risks everywhere–inside, outside, east and west, @kentforrester. Everyone is terrified. I’m sure they believe that the virus is in the air. I often see people early in the mornings with few of us out walking, wearing masks. Now they scare me.

    I’m sure there are places that are not affected. People who are seeing less of this paranoia are welcome to comment on this post. I would be glad to hear the news.

    • #8
  9. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    The teaching: People are a threat, not a resource to be cultivated nor a potential source of meaning (through relationship). It’s a modified version of the climate hysteria that teaches that people are a burden to the planet, not potential creators of new and exciting things and ideas. By having children you are burdening the planet. No thought is given to the potential that your child might solve some problem or create new beauty. 

    Today we are absorbing that we should consider every other human as a threat to our wellbeing. Any thought that we might derive or give joy or happiness or meaning or love to another person must be pushed aside to accommodate an all-consuming fear that the other person is spreading death. Yes, that has been a technique of tyrants throughout the ages to gain and/or maintain power. 

    In much of the world (such as eastern Europe and the Soviet Union) we saw in the 20th Century that people learned to fear their neighbors and not to develop relationships with other people because those other people would report your thoughts and words to the State. 

    A society grows and prospers when people can trust each other and work together in relationships. A society full of people who fear and distrust each other stagnates and dies. The pushers of virus panic are pushing fear and distrust. [So are the pushers BLM and other “woke” propaganda, but that’s another discussion, though the two together are accelerating the destruction of society.]

    • #9
  10. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Susan, I’ve noticed more and more people wearing masks outside. I’ve seen people wearing masks as they walk alone, without anyone nearby. I’ve even seen people wearing masks inside of cars.

    What’s going on. Don’t these people read about the scant chance they have of catching the virus outside?

    Are we unusual out here in Oregon, or is this happening around the U.S.?

    Same here in AZ – people wearing their masks outdoors and in the car. And we’ve had umpteen straight days well in excess of 100 degrees. Good grief. I tear mine off as soon as I exit a store.

    And can we please, please, please dispense with the term “social distancing” . What the heck is wrong with “physical” distancing?

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    A society grows and prospers when people can trust each other and work together in relationships. A society full of people who fear and distrust each other stagnates and dies. The pushers of virus panic are pushing fear and distrust. [So are the pushers BLM and other “woke” propaganda, but that’s another discussion, though the two together are accelerating the destruction of society.]

    Thanks, @fullsizetabby. I only addressed the virus, but clearly the rioting and violence are feeding the “systemic fear” of the time. It seems no matter which way people turn, they can’t get a break. I will say that some leaders have damaged their credibility for helping citizens the way they empower BLM and Antifa. If they figure out they need to turn that around and take a strong stand, they will take advantage of the power they acquire. Then it will be even worse.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    And can we please, please, please dispense with the term “social distancing” . What the heck is wrong with “physical” distancing?

    I agree. But “they” won’t. The word “social” has taken on a power of its own–social media, social justice, etc. They won’t relinquish its use willingly! Thanks, @justmeinaz.

    • #12
  13. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    KentForrester (View Comment): Susan, I’ve noticed more and more people wearing masks outside. I’ve seen people wearing masks as they walk alone, without anyone nearby. I’ve even seen people wearing masks inside of cars.

    What’s going on. Don’t these people read about the scant chance they have of catching the virus outside?

    Are we unusual out here in Oregon, or is this happening around the U.S.?

    The media has been doing its best to hype outdoor mask-wearing. Heck, I’ve even seen pro-goggle propaganda. It’s a product, I suspect, of the overwhelming pressure to “do something,” whether or not that something is wise or necessary.

    Outdoor mask-wearing is a Rubicon I refuse to cross. Fine me. I don’t care. I will not wear a mask outside. And if you think you can make me, then you can hang.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kephalithos (View Comment):
    Outdoor mask-wearing is a Rubicon I refuse to cross. Fine me. I don’t care. I will not wear a mask outside. And if you think you can make me, then you can hang.

    I completely agree, @christopherriley. It’s wretched to wear it inside; I rip it off as soon as I get outside. 

    • #14
  15. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Susan, I like you Utopia logo for conveys the right message of Fascism.

    I have to tell a story of yesterday. Yesterday, since I live in LA and it was boiling (over 100)  yesterday I thought I would take a drive to San Diego since I hadn’t been down there in a while.

    Going that way I often get off the 5 Freeway after Camp Pendleton and take the coast (Pacific Coast Highway) route through Oceanside, Carlsbad, Leucadia, Solana Beach, Del Mar and down to La Jolla because it is a picturesque drive and the 5 through there is usually clogged.

    Yesterday, I drove through Oceanside, which is a Navy town next to Pendleton and it was packed with people on sidewalk cafes with a lot of military types. Then I hit Carlsbad. Immediately there were electronic signs almost everywhere demanding you where a mask ( It’s the Law!). The effect was simply Orwellian, and these many signs were at every town from then on  I passed through. It was repetitive all encompassing mind control – you shall submit or else and it definitely left a very bad taste in my mouth.

    As I pulled into La Jolla, I needed to find a restroom, but thanks to our government Karens all the normal public restrooms were closed by I guess order of the government , and  I went to several places that were open like a Chevron Station, a Jack in the Box, and so forth. No dice.

    It was a simple reminder by our betters that your life is no longer yours; it will be controlled and limited to what our governing Karens want it to be and you had better like it.

    At that point I decided to high tail it back up the 5  to more Republican Orange County and stopped at the first beach town north of Pendleton, San Clemente. It’s restaurant district along Del Mar Ave, starting from the old Moorish  Spanish City Hall down to the pier was booming. The city had allowed many of the restaurants along that street to commandeer the parking in front of them and so there were many of these colorful outside patios along the street which were packed. Many had long waits. So there I got a bite to eat and finally  found a bathroom.

    But also in San Clemente, at most only one third of the people on the street wore masks and the sidewalks were crowded. There were also no electronic signs demanding you wear a mask. The fresh air of Freedom still lives! But only in certain places.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Unsk (View Comment):
    But also in San Clemente, at most only one third of the people on the street wore masks and the sidewalks were crowded. There were also no electronic signs demanding you wear a mask. The fresh air of Freedom still lives! But only in certain places.

    @unsk—  You know I lived many years in Orange County and specifically in San Clemente. (We used to love to walk near the pier.) We lived in a townhome off Ave. Pico. Your descriptions, especially of the contrast between Oceanside and Carlsbad are no surprise. It will be interesting to see if they become more aggressive about their demands for wearing masks. I’m glad to be living in Florida!

    • #16
  17. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Speaking of tyranny and Orange County (CA)  my best friend lives in Laguna Niguel and she can’t even go to the library. I suggested that she get a kindle and download e-books. Well, she has a library card but to get an online account you have to go in person to the library. But they’re closed. Catch 22. So I’m sending her my extra kindle and giving her access to my library account so she doesn’t have to buy books all the time.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    So I’m sending her my extra kindle and giving her access to my library account so she doesn’t have to buy books all the time.

    You are taking precisely the kind of action that builds relationship in spite of the craziness going on. Good for you, @justmeinaz.

    • #18
  19. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn:

    For those people who think this scenario won’t happen, keep these factors in mind:

    • Relationships among people will continue to fracture; trust will decline.
    • Conflicting agendas among groups will create more dissension, because underneath the conflicts are their fears about living and dying.
    • Power struggles will intensify.
    • People will look for someone or something to bring order to the chaos.

    The last item is how dictators get elected in a democracy . . .

    • #19
  20. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    My wife and I are in our 70’s and I am very happy that we enjoy each other’s company very much and live in a rural community.  I don’t wear a mask when I’m outside and walking the dog down the street, but I am the designated shopper. (Today, on the way home, I had to slow for 3 Wild Turkeys walking down the road just before my driveway)

    When I go to the nearest town for shopping, I feel like I am in some sort of new remake of “1984” with everyone wearing masks coming and going into the stores.

    What makes me feel that this “mask mania” is all political is that there is no guidance about what I guess would be called “mask hygiene”.   That is, should it be paper or cloth.  If cloth, how often should you clean it and how?  How do you take care of it when you aren’t wearing it to keep it ‘safe’.  What are the rules about touching it when you have it on?  

    Another thing that makes me doubt the “mask” rules is that there are very few places to buy new new ones.  Yes, I know they are available online from multiple sources, but if they are so critical, wouldn’t they be readily available at pharmacies and grocery stores, etc?

    It is as if the “mask culture” is some sort of “cargo cult”.  We totally misunderstand the rationale behind them, but we will keep wearing them in hopes of good things to come.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    My wife and I are in our 70’s and I am very happy that we enjoy each other’s company very much and live in a rural community. I don’t wear a mask when I’m outside and walking the dog down the street, but I am the designated shopper. (Today, on the way home, I had to slow for 3 Wild Turkeys walking down the road just before my driveway)

    When I go to the nearest town for shopping, I feel like I am in some sort of new remake of “1984” with everyone wearing masks coming and going into the stores.

    What makes me feel that this “mask mania” is all political is that there is no guidance about what I guess would be called “mask hygiene”. That is, should it be paper or cloth. If cloth, how often should you clean it and how? How do you take care of it when you aren’t wearing it to keep it ‘safe’. What are the rules about touching it when you have it on?

    Another thing that makes me doubt the “mask” rules is that there are very few places to buy new new ones. Yes, I know they are available online from multiple sources, but if they are so critical, wouldn’t they be readily available at pharmacies and grocery stores, etc?

    It is as if the “mask culture” is some sort of “cargo cult”. We totally misunderstand the rationale behind them, but we will keep wearing them in hopes of good things to come.

    Excellent points, @WillowSpring. We have masks made of fabric, since we don’t want to buy a boatload and wear them only when necessary. It is most definitely political.

    • #21
  22. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We have masks made of fabric, since we don’t want to buy a boatload and wear them only when necessary.

    Where did you get them?  We have a couple from our Health Insurance (Humana), but other than online, I haven’t seen anywhere to get them.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We have masks made of fabric, since we don’t want to buy a boatload and wear them only when necessary.

    Where did you get them? We have a couple from our Health Insurance (Humana), but other than online, I haven’t seen anywhere to get them.

    Two places I’d suggest are etsy.com and put in “face masks.” But my personal favorite was recommended by @arahant–my personal favorite is “The Scream” https://diashop.org/face-masks/ These are more expensive, because the museum wants to make money on them, but they’re also adjustable and well made.

    • #23
  24. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We have masks made of fabric, since we don’t want to buy a boatload and wear them only when necessary.

    My hubby bought a box of the paper masks but I just wear the same one over and over. I haven’t drooled on it or anything – just one tiny chocolate stain. Can’t count the number of times I pinch it around the nose to pull it away so I can breathe. Masks are a joke.

     

    • #24
  25. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We have masks made of fabric, since we don’t want to buy a boatload and wear them only when necessary.

    Where did you get them? We have a couple from our Health Insurance (Humana), but other than online, I haven’t seen anywhere to get them.

    Two places I’d suggest are etsy.com and put in “face masks.” But my personal favorite was recommended by @arahant–my personal favorite is “The Scream” https://diashop.org/face-masks/ These are more expensive, because the museum wants to make money on them, but they’re also adjustable and well made.

    We’re not enthusiastic about wearing masks, only wearing them when absolutely required. I’ve taken to jauntily wearing it on my wrist. 

    I am amazed and a little saddened by how quickly my granddaughters have adapted; the oldest considers it a fashion accessory to be chosen with care. 

    My daughter and her family flew to Austin TX for the weekend; here’s a pic of granddaughter #1 and her mask. Bird Box anyone ?

     

    • #25
  26. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    I still dislike people going into traffic if they are approaching me on the sidewalk. I’m not that scary looking.

    Although it takes some care, I always yield the sidewalk when I’m on my bicycle. I’ve even been able to jump off the curb (onto the road) without dropping my Frappacino, as I did today.

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ray Kujawa (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    I still dislike people going into traffic if they are approaching me on the sidewalk. I’m not that scary looking.

    Although it takes some care, I always yield the sidewalk when I’m on my bicycle. I’ve even been able to jump off the curb (onto the road) without dropping my Frappacino, as I did today.

    Hey, @raykujawa, what are ya doin’ riding your bike on the sidewalk??!! Well, if you lived here with a bunch of seniors, you’d do it too. And your dodge this morning was masterful–well done!

    • #27
  28. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    There’s something about an invisible microbe that encourages a certain kind of fear.  In one of the Hornblower novels, the protagonist stops a suspicious-looking ship and needs to find out what and who it is carrying.  That captain warns him that they have smallpox on board.  Suspecting a ruse, Hornblower nevertheless orders the vessel to be boarded.

    The men he send are sulky in a way they have never been before.  “They would have gone cheerfully to board an armed enemy, but the thought of a loathsome disease unmanned them.”

    Nuclear energy / radioactivity seems to generate the same kind of fear.

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Nuclear energy / radioactivity seems to generate the same kind of fear.

    It does, @davidfoster, particularly regarding nuclear energy plants. And those plants when properly managed are probably the safest on the planet. Even Three-Mile Island didn’t leak fuel. Yet the fears persist.

    • #29
  30. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Thomas Edison tried to use the same kind of fear-based tactics in attacking the AC system promoted by Westinghouse and Tesla (calling it “killer current”, ensuring that the electric chair was used for executions and making a point of the fact that it ran on AC). These tactics didn’t work…in today’s social/political climate, he probably would have gotten away with it.

    • #30