How we live collectively should be a continuous political debate, especially in challenging times. Yet the politics stopped, the experts should rule us, they say. But which experts? Science is not monolithic, why don't we have at least some scientific debate? New scientific paradigms, like systems biology, are contesting the entire germ theory and the reductionist approaches of disease in general. The old paradigm survives and it's central now, because it's financially profitable. Even in this paradigm there are many prestigious scientists that point out huge problems with the tests, treatments, statistics, and the entire Covid19 narrative. There are many renowned epidemiologists that say that "social distancing and lockdown is the absolutely worst way to deal with an airborne respiratory virus".* Why are they censored, and attacked or ridiculously labeled "conspiracist"? On the other hand, many of the official 'experts' who are imposing the current measures, have a history of corruption, mediocrity or of being repetitively wrong.*
They push their perspective on the body, health, reality in every medical school, every medical protocol, every research design, every health related Google search – in every corner of the world, in every corner of the mind – constantly fortifying the official perspective. Life becomes a war on germs and the world a huge hospital. We're all patients now. Sensitive fears are being played and a techno-medical-tyranny is becoming normality. The world is caught in a narrative that produces a nightmare. And there is no way of escaping it because it's "for the good of society", for totality – totalitarianism. The tacit contract used to be that we have a degree of freedom, autonomy and agency at least over our own bodies in exchange for our acceptance to inhabit capitalism realism. Now this last old normal's freedom is taken away. The old normal was already bad but the "new normal" is completely insane.
Covid19 doesn't deserve more than 0.1% attention, as its death rates. I don't want that every aspect of my life to be infused with a fear of a mild virus that was artificially raised at the status of the biggest superstar. I don't want to live in a body shaped by medical fears and fictions. I want out of the antibiotic society. I want the possibility to disagree, the space to move in a different way, in a different direction than what they consider normal and desirable. Freedom is the possibility of deviating from what power wants. I hope for a space, a country, an island, a parallel world where we will have the right to have our own perspectives on health, bodies, realities. Because it's obvious – the new normal is dystopia.
It's not so much to say, we all know what is happening. There is this dangerous pandemic, there is no treatment or vaccine, so we have to protect ourselves, and the others. Stay home! Lockdown and social distancing for flattening the curve, it's as simple as that. Any other opinion is immoral, because it is clear that vulnerable people will die otherwise. Sure, there are many weird perspectives, crazy conspiracies around, but it's really not the moment. I'm usually not at all for censorship, but it's understandable why free speech is increasingly suspended. Fake news and conspiracy theories can be very dangerous in this emergency situation. It's nothing to debate, if you want to save lives stay home and follow the official recommendations.
"We are here in front of the emergence of some ultimate justification (saving 'lives') for letting ourselves be administered by a clergy, a managing clergy, a planning clergy, a dictatorial clergy, worse than anything we have ever thought about. You know how much I love and admire George Orwell. Here Orwell’s message comes to an end. We would need a new Orwell to speak about what we are now discussing." (Illich, 1992). Decades ago Ivan Illich predicted that a medical totalitarianism would be inevitable, because of the powerful grip that "medical religion" has on our bodies and minds. It was maybe too early then, now it seems too late.
He noticed that since the middle of the 20th century things started to change fast, "just twenty years ago, it was a sign of normal health – which was assumed to be good – to get along without a doctor. The same status of non-patient is now indicative of poverty or dissidence." Humanity entered "a special moment of history when one agency, namely medicine, reached toward a monopoly over the social construction of bodily reality." People "have acquired iatrogenic bodies. They perceive themselves and their bodies as doctors describe them." They experience their bodies and selves "through medical concepts and cares", in a language that "is turned into bureaucratic gobbledegook." The medical establishment provides the axioms that generate our "epoch-specific mental space" within which reality comes into existence.*
At the center of this "new stage of religiosity” is 'life', "the most powerful idol". It is "the transcendent foundation of a world in which the possession of life is seen as the supreme value." "Thinking in terms of ‘a life’ and ‘human life’ vaguely connotes something of extreme importance and tends to abolish all limits that decency and common sense have so far imposed on the exercise of professional tutelage." At this stage 'life' evokes "fear and an imprecise sense of 'I ought to be responsible.' It therefore implies manageability not of what’s good but of what we want to conserve. It emphasizes survival, not aliveness." Aliveness, "deep enjoyment of being here alive at this moment," is the opposite of 'life'. Life in its current use is a recent concept, a malefic perversion of original life which was the incarnation of divinity. "Life has become a pseudo god, and a negation of the God" and the "total global management" is "justified because of the sacredness of this nothingness." "The transmogrification of a person into ‘a life’ is a lethal operation." "Life becomes the ultimate purpose of history. Early modern thinkers had to face the question: What is life in a dead world?"*
The priest of medical religion is the expert "biocrat hiding behind the benevolent mask of the physician of old." They "think of themselves managers of that stuff called life." They "are more deeply entrenched than a Byzantine bureaucracy, more international than a world church, more stable than any labour union, endowed with wider competencies than any shaman, and equipped with a tighter hold over those they claim than any mafia." "They enjoy wide autonomy in creating the diagnostic tools by which they then catch their clients for treatment." They are "a corporate agency that imputes a need to entire classes of people, and then claims the mandate to test the complete population in order to identify all who belong to the group of potential patients." They have "a specialized form of privilege to prescribe what is right for others and what they therefore need." They "train everyone for patienthood", creating an "amortal society – a society which cannot face dying."*
"Under the stress of crisis, the professional who is believed to be in command can easily presume immunity from the ordinary rules of justice and decency. He who is assigned control over death ceases to be an ordinary human. As with the director of a triage, his killing is covered by policy. More important, his entire performance takes place in the aura of crisis. Because they form a charmed borderland not quite of this world, the time-span and the community space claimed by the medical enterprise are as sacred as their religious and military counterparts." 'Crisis' is the core of medical religion, but not in the original sense of ‘choice’, ‘turning point’, or "moment when people suddenly become aware of their self-imposed cages, and of the possibility of a different life". Crisis has come to mean that moment when doctors and 'experts' take over and liberties are suspended in "a headlong rush for the escalation of management."*
Health "designates the area of autonomy within which a person exercises control over his own biological states and over the conditions of his immediate environment. Simply stated, health is identical with the degree of lived freedom." But through a medical "expropriation of health", it now implies “the smooth integration of my immune system into a socioeconomic world system”, and “an interiorization of global systems into the self, in the manner of a categorical imperative.” People "are turned into patients whom medicine tests and repairs, into administered citizens whose healthy behavior a medical bureaucracy guides, and into guinea pigs on whom medical science constantly experiments." We're in "a morbid society in which social control of the population by the medical system turns into a principal economic activity. A "pathogenic pursuit of health" becomes universally imposed, under "pretensions of delivering totalitarian health care." Testing is the act of faith in this religion, "once a society organizes for a preventive disease-hunt, it gives epidemic proportions to diagnosis. This ultimate triumph of therapeutic culture turns the independence of the average healthy person into an intolerable form of deviance." "Until proven healthy, the citizen is now presumed to be sick."*
The temple of medical religion, the hospital, had an interesting evolution, "pesthouse has been transformed into a compartmentalized repair shop." where "instead of mobilizing his self-healing powers, they transform the sick man into a limp and mystified voyeur of his own treatment. Medical procedures turn into sick religion." Nowadays "the hospital, the modern cathedral, lords it over this hieratic environment of health devotees. From Stockholm to Wichita the towers of the medical center impress on the landscape the promise of a conspicuous final embrace. For rich and poor, life is turned into a pilgrimage through check-ups and clinics back to the ward where it started." "Clinical measurement has been diffused throughout society. Society has become a clinic, and all citizens have become patients." "The result is a morbid society that demands universal medicalization and a medical establishment that certifies universal morbidity." And the entire culture is organized to establish and support this morbidity. "Today I live in a world in which most people see by command. Whatever they know, whatever they learn in school, whatever is communicated to them by the media, has been carefully planned and structured. Screened images tell them how to see, what to see, and what not to see." It's a global, totalitarian religion, and it has the signs of the end, "the time for human beings is over."*
Yes, there is strong evidence that the tests are rubbish, there is evidence that they try to count every death as a Covid death. That intubation and other aggressive treatments are killing the vulnerable patients. And the measures too. There are all the countries without lockdown that are quite ok, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Georgia, Sweden, Belarus, Iceland, Mexico…, There is also evidence that going out in the sun greatly reduces the severity of Covid19. You keep throwing these facts in our face. But we are not interested in your evidence. Nobody cares about your facts. You think we're stupid but we're not, we feel that the real danger is not the virus but leaving the official narrative. You can lose your place in the community, your status, your work, even your life, in the "new normal" they can easily remove you from home and enforce medical treatments, and who knows what happens. Reality is relative, fear and affects are generating more reality than your reason and facts. You should respect the fear of people. For us, intellectuals, academics, artists, our jobs, our security, our future are more and more dependent on being attuned with the "correct stances", providing justifications and conceptual backgrounds for them. Collaborators are rewarded, critics punished, this is reality.
It is easier and more mature to just get along with the consensual reality. Yes, reality is consensual, it is implicit agreement under the influence of power and media. For now your facts are in alt-media, and this speaks about how much you're living in an alternative reality, only when they will be in mass media it will be ok to be critical again. The guy in front of the tanks in China and the skeptical guy not performing the Nazi salute in a middle of that mesmerized crowd, were naive idealists, very annoying, destabilizing, provoking disturbances and confusion with their immature takes on reality. If you have a drop of common sense, and a trace of preservation instinct you see your place in the scheme of things and get along. Freedom, truth are not supreme. You're not called to illuminate and change the world, mind your business.
Be sensitive to others, respect the common sense, the codes and tacit agreements and play the game – when they pretend to want your best, you pretend not to see them doing the opposite. Why producing dissonance when what we need is unity, a common sense and a common view of the problem. It's time to understand the new normal, the shift towards the epidemiologic society. You and your precious freedoms are secondary, your importance is only in regard to your contribution to the general safety, your responsibility and service is towards the health of the collective.
We have to acknowledge that he was right here: "My Movement encompasses every aspect of the entire Volk. It conceives of Germany as a corporate body, as a single organism. There is no such thing as non-responsibility in this organic being, not a single cell which is not responsible, by its very existence, for the welfare and well-being of the whole." Adolf Hitler
Conspiracy theories are among the first that I check in crises, especially the ones most hated by the officials. Usually the first criticisms about future problems, forms of control and oppression, appear as "conspiracy theory", so we should pay more attention. Of course many of them are stupid, but you can always find descriptions of the present and glimpses of the future that make sense, or make you think. Some are very realistic, others seem more like contemporary mythologies that capture the collective imagination explaining metaphorically what's going on.
There are many conspiracy theories that have proven true. Considering smoking unhealthy was a long time "conspiracy theory", doctors and faked studies were recommending smoking for respiratory issues, although there were many honest studies against it. Secret agencies being able to follow our every step through technology we use, was "conspiracy theory". The chip implants idea was "conspiracy theory" already in the 70s. Some of theories described long ago the verticalization of power, the pyramidal dominance of the world and of our lives by supra-democratic structures of big corporations and oligarchs. Some of them prefigured what is now common sense, the fact that economy is centered on the production and exploitation of subjectivity. The epidemiologic society of techno-medical control, that now arrived, was predicted in "conspiracy theories" too.
The 201 Event (October 2019), in which Bill Gates and other oligarchs were simulating a coronavirus pandemic that spreads from China, and made plans for suppressing the unofficial perspectives, sounds like a conspiracy theory but it's real. The digital imunologic IDs plans and mandatory vaccinations too. And throughout the history conspiracies were instrumental in provoking and influencing events. It's plain stupid to dismiss the existence or the possibility of conspiracies as political instruments.
These days "conspiracy theory" is any suspicion or critique of the official perspective. And there is a lot of trust in mass-media, I wonder why. New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, CNN…, were always doing official propaganda for justifying the US wars, the war on terror, while platforms that dismantled propaganda then and now are labeled conspiracist. It is known that the "conspiracy theory" label was historically introduced to stop the discussion on certain topics. And it's idiocy to call peer reviewed studies and the opinions of some of the most renowned researchers "conspiracy theories".
Friends told me that they have a bad feeling about what's going on, but they are afraid to express it. We should embrace being labeled "conspiracists", if this is what it takes to be able to think and speak. This will probably dilute the fear and conformity and open us towards suspicion, critical thinking, speculation, courage, alternative possibilities, all that is now suppressed. Reality is conspiracy.
These days I'm scared, not of covid but of the reactions to it. It's a fear pandemic, based on data out of context and manipulation of facts. Big lies were pointed out by researchers but nobody cares. As an angry MD was saying on Twitter: "The test is the disease, not the virus!"*. Before, they didn't test for different respiratory viruses, they were all treated as flu. Now one of those viruses is tested and we have a new disease. The test is very unreliable, it can give up to 90% false positives. Papayas, goats, and even the tests themselves tested positive.* All the people found positive with these ridiculous tests are considered "infected", "cases", although they are up to 80% asymptomatic, and almost all the remaining 20% have mild symptoms.
They count as Covid19 deaths all people dying with the virus. In the past the terminally ill cancer patients that died with flu or pneumonia were counted as cancer deaths. Now if they get tested positive for coronavirus, they are counted as Covid19 deaths. These testing and counting tricks renders the covid TV graphs and statistics meaningless. People are making fun saying that Covid19 is the cure for pneumonia, cancer, heart diseases because these causes of death are disappearing from statistics. Italy Health Ministry admitted that covid deaths are at around 12% of what is announced but it doesn't matter, they keep doing the same everywhere. This big malpraxis is pointed out by many world renowned researchers but they are censored. As studies are getting better, mortality of Covid19 appears to be similar to that of flu. Studies are showing that Italy, Spain and NY's deaths are mainly due to aggressive and wrong treatments on people with other serious diseases.* Hospitals are the most dangerous places for contamination of doctors and patients. Still the excess mortality is under some flu seasons in most countries.
Many researchers say that millions will die because of the measures – stress, isolation, loneliness, fear, lack of liberty are proven to be more unhealthy and dangerous than the virus. Famine, depression and suicides because of job losses and poverty will kill hundreds of millions.* There are no studies to justify lockdowns but there are many against. There is even a WHO 2019 study that shows that lockdown doesn't work for respiratory diseases.* Because of the novelty, in China they introduced the measures late, two weeks after the peak of disease so they already achieved herd immunity. Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, Georgia, Belarus, Iceland, Mexico have no lockdown, no panic, everything goes on like before, with more care, and the situation is not worse than in lockdown countries. Lockdown creates panic and stress and it's known that isolation reduces immunity, especially for vulnerable people. Many researchers pointed out that going outdoors is what stops every respiratory disease. Vitamine D reduces until 20 times the severity of Covid19. There are studies that are clearly showing that the asymptomatic people don't transmit the disease.*
And as I read in an article today: "in a liberal democracy you have to convince and not command people into action. If you lose that principle, you will lose your soul."*
There are many more chances to die of suicide than of covid, and this biowar will raise this collateral damage. Luckily, risks could be reduced in our new epidemiologic society. Until chips arrive, mandatory AI apps can track us, our conversations, analyze our online activities, measure our brain waves and give us mood scores. Through feedback and suggestions AI will teach us how to think and behave to avoid suicides or to trigger others.
Depression is contagious. If you have bad moods you should be banned from certain public places and from traveling. When depressed the AI will signal to you and your friends that you should self-isolate. When severely depressed, the AI will automatically notify the police-doctors and they will remove you from home and enforce adequate treatments. To help the AI, citizens should report if someone is suspect of sadness. AI will have the necessary data to see what was the trigger for eventual suicides. Maybe someone said something challenging, upsetting, disturbing. They will be removed from society for a while, and their minds and behaviors will be corrected. Results of mandatory mood tests will appear on our digital IDs, together with vaccines and immunity statuses. The measures will be in place until anti-suicide vaccines arrive.
Apps that infer our states of mind can reduce many other risks too. For instance there are more swimming pool deaths than covid deaths. If we're troubled we will not be allowed to swim. The drowning risks, based on our swimming levels and other parameters, will be on our digital IDs as deciding factors for our access to swimming pools, rivers, lakes, oceans. This could and should be done with all the death risks. It would be difficult, more police will be necessary, but totally worth it, lives will be saved. Until then, fear is our ally. By adding our fears to the general panic, the atmosphere will be much safer – fear makes us conform – official measures are respected, order and security reign.
As always, to understand what happens we should see who profits. We already know how these things work – create, inflate or frame a problem to bring the long before prepared solutions. Some knew in advance how perception and fear will be managed, like the billionaires who were told in advance when to exit the market and probably they will know when to reenter and buy everything cheap. Huge amounts of money are 'printed' by 'national' banks, money that go in private hands and register as debt for the rest of us. And there is big money in mandatory medicine, in selling tests and vaccines to governments. After depleting and destroying the environment, our bodies, our lives are the last frontier for terminal capitalism. Life and death are the ultimate things to mine.
New ways of monitoring and controlling human life are conceived, based on mandatory testings and vaccinations that appear on some global digital IDs. The new 'security' and surveillance ideas, the techno-tyranny is made acceptable to a panicked population. It is also a good moment to implement agresive perception management techniques and the new controls for the more dystopian future that will come. Free speech, liberty of movement and other rights are disposable because 'fake news' and the contamination capacity of the body should be contained, our own existence is at stake. Humans should be constantly processed and managed under the imperative of general health. This seems to be the new way of governing, WHO (financed by medical oligarchy) becomes the voice of the global government. Mild contagious viruses are always around, and coronaviruses always mutate, so this type of situation is always at disposal for new biopolitics in the name of supreme value of 'life'. The medical dictatorship.
As for the accusations that these are "conspiracy theories" we should just look a little bit back in the recent history and we will see the same entities trying to do the same things. WHO declared fake pandemics, with totally off predictions and stats. And they rushed in disastrous vaccines. The same renowned epidemiologists that managed to stop WHO then are speaking against what's going on now too, but they are censored and attacked. And the people who were instrumental in faking the pandemics then are doing it now too: "in 2005, Ferguson declared bird flu would kill some 200 million people worldwide - when reality saw some 455 people, total, killed over the past 15 years according to the WHO. His hysterical 2009 prediction that 65,000 Brits would die of swine flu encouraged the government to embrace GlaxoSmithKline’s unsafe Pandemrix vaccine, which caused permanent brain damage in thousands of people - quite a bit more than the 283 killed by the actual swine flu."*
And as Agamben points out, on the political side the things are also repeating: In 2013 "Patrick Zylberman described the process by which health security, hitherto on the margins of political calculations, was becoming an essential part of state and international political strategies. At issue is nothing less than the creation of a sort of “health terror” as a tool for governing during what are called “worst case scenarios.” It is according to this logic of the worst that already in 2005 the World Health Organization announced “2 to 150 million deaths from bird flu on the way,” suggesting a political strategy that states were not ready to accept at the time. Zylberman shows that the apparatus that was suggested was articulated in three points: 1) the construction, on the basis of a possible risk, of a fictitious scenario, in which data are presented in such a way as to encourage behaviors allowing governance of an extreme situation; 2) the adoption of the logic of the worst as a regime of political rationality; 3) the complete organization of the body of citizens in a way that strengthens maximum adherence to institutions of government, producing a sort of superlative good citizenship wherein imposed obligations are presented as altruism and the citizen no longer has a right to health (health safety) but is legally obliged to health (biosecurity). What Zylberman described in 2013 has now precisely occurred."*
It is a new mentality that is built, a new fear. First the enemy was outside, other countries, then it came closer, terrorists, migrants, and now we're the enemy, we're walking biohazard that should be monitored and contained. We're a danger for others and for ourselves, because we are guests to trillions of viruses and bacteria, and we have the power to contaminate. A hygienist, antibiotic approach permeates everything. We isolate, separate and protect ourselves from everything around. The first thing that we see in others is danger. The others were low probability terrorists, now they are high probability contaminated, they (we) become more and more dangerous. The epidemiologic perspective becomes the new form of governance and the core of the new subjectivity and society. The human completely identifies as biochemistry, people become 'lives', the lowest forms of life in human history. Never before we were so afraid of death to quarantine the healthy population. This biomanagement and war on death reduces us to mere biological life with few animalic pleasures and mostly fears. Humanity is extinct.
Quarantine forever! Coronaviruses always mutate and there are other flu dangerous viruses out there that are killing more people than covid. And in general mortality for going out is bigger than for staying home. And most importantly we have to protect others, we're hosts for trillions of viruses, we're biological bombs. Stay home, self-isolate, be safe! We're collectively obsessed with this alien agent that could end everything at any moment. But there are other agents that can do that at all times. The probability of dying in a car crash is bigger than that of dying of Covid19. So the banning of the cars should be added to the current measures. And there are many other factors that should be fought and banned. And after you ban and fight every cause of death you probably end up so isolated, cautious and locked down, that you will be already dead, or you will most likely die of boredom, anxiety or hunger. Paradoxically, fear of death makes us not live. Big fears also produce mental freezing, like our collective one.
Usually the fear of death stays in the background, but now it's central. Fears are irrational often, but not necessarily the fear of death. We're not deluded, we will die, even if we ban and fight all the death causes. Maybe you can escape this fear by not having anything to lose anymore, by considering yourself already dead. Or by believing that death is just a transition to another life. But even for religious people the assault of scientism and physicalism is too powerful. To believe in life after death seems very unscientific and naive. Meanwhile the real science is not so sure anymore, there are plenty of well studied phenomena that cast big doubts on the physicalist paradigm. There are records of thousands of very mysterious phenomena around death, like dead bed apparitions that are visible for more people in the room. Or near death experiences after which subjects accurately describe far away events which they attended out of their bodies while objectively brain dead and gone. But probably the only thing that can alter your perspective on death are very strong personal experiences that can pull you out of the implicit physicalism. When death ceases to be the ultimate tragedy, life ceases to be fear.
What matters is perception. Many researchers say that at the level of facts nothing new happens. Coronaviruses are here since ever, they are part of every year flu. And as all respiratory viruses they constantly mutate. In previous years there was considered pointless to test what kind of respiratory virus gives the flu, they were all treated alike. Imagine if everyone everywhere would have continued that, we would have thought that it is just one of the bad flu seasons that we have once in a while, minor news. Same data, completely different results in terms of perception. Perception management is all that matters, and it's done through spectacle, not facts and reason. Media's images of people on SciFi stretchers surrounded by astronaut doctors are a much stronger statement than some Nobel prize virologist that explains softly why current fear and measures are craziness.
Imagine a similar scenario for influenza viruses. In Italy and Germany 25000 flu deaths are in some flu seasons, and this without counting the cancer, myocardial infarction patients…, that die with the virus. Imagine what spectacle you can make out of it. Exponential graphs, overwhelmed health systems (in North Italy and Spain the health systems were overwhelmed in the past flu seasons). You can even show some children dying, because yes, the flu is killing children unlike Covid19. Stats will show that old people and immunity compromised people are vulnerable, and here we are, lockdown again. The show will produce fear, and reason is nothing in face of fear. There are many psychological experiments that show how fear and uncertainty makes us abandon reason and follow the authority's perspective. We're infected with the official perspective.
"Yes but people are dying!" Seriously? Since when, since yesterday? With all this perception management, we suddenly become mortals.
The usual political discussions are like fights for the first class seats in an airplane that's crushing, or like debates for where we should stay, on the left or on the right in our fall. Many more lives are taken by the climate crisis, right now not in the future. Why don't we have this generalized panic and radical measures for that? And even this crisis is an ecological one. Wuhan and North Italy are some of the most polluted places on earth and this is a huge factor in the situations there. Destruction of land, extinction of animals made the viruses from other species search new hosts. All recent pandemics, faked or not, were due to animal exploitation. Animal exploitation is also the worst thing that you can do for the environment, eating a burger is worse than a trip on an airplane in ecological terms. We know or we feel that we are in the middle of an extinction, and this planetary catastrophe affects our modes of perceiving, thinking and feeling. We somehow register these changes and we are affected, even (or especially) if we are not aware or in denial. When something like this happens all this accumulated and suppressed panic and anxiety is getting out.
At the base of the climate crisis and of the current pandemic atmosphere, is an instrumental, use-oriented thinking based on an attack upon the environment, on the assumption that our life should be at the expense of others. And the same anti ecological paradigm is at the base of medicine. Excessive hand-washing, overuse of antibiotics, aseptic cleanliness, vaccines, antivirals, other medicines and lack of human contact destroys our body ecology, our immunity. The resulting allergies, autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases can be much worse than the infectious disease that we're fighting. When we are at war with bacteria and viruses, we are at war with our own bodies. From too much eagerness to fight the microbial life we end up fighting ourselves.
Instead we can go for coexistence. Even now we can choose to trust each other and the power of our community, that we each have a role in building antibodies and immunity together. This would be an ecological mentality, that we're together in an ecosystem and viruses and bacteria are very much part of it, are very much part of our bodies for that matter. In general the microbial lifeforms are not our enemies. We cannot survive without them. We are viruses and bacteria, more than human cells. We coexisted and survived with these respiratory viruses for millions of years, it's just stupid to suddenly behave like human immunity does not exist. We should trust the power and intelligence of these ecosystems to regulate themselves, because, like studies are showing it, if we trust them more, they work better.
Medicine and health care should evolve with this crisis, because Covid19 is here to stay and other dangerous viruses too. Special sensors should be placed in all the public areas to take people's temperature. Testing, testing, testing! Records on people should be kept for AI technology to identify symptoms, to diagnose based on subtle changes in skin color, walking, posture, gaze. In this way dangerous people can be quickly removed, together with people they contacted and be quarantined before infecting more people and putting vulnerable lives in danger. Medical digital IDs should keep the records of vaccinations and show who is immunized and who's not. The non immunized people should not have access in high contamination risk public spaces. And countries should have the right to ban their entries.
People should be ranked on their level of danger, risk and vulnerability. Algorithms will be able to analyze in real time the composition of crowds based on this data, and authorities will be able to quickly intervene to disperse the crowds and ban meetings when the risk level rises. Citizens should be also instructed to keep an eye on others, to be able to identify some basic symptoms and report to authorities possible suspects, people with signs of disease. Technology can bring a lot of smaller improvements too, like sensors that beep if hands get too close to face, etc. And of course there should be periodic mandatory vaccinations. And special budgets should be globally allocated for all of this.
Tribal thought control and conformity, so viral lately, are more likely explanations for what's going on. In my bubble they just adapt the woke culture with its identity politics games to the situation. It's a cop mentality that identifies and excludes the "problematic" takes – any other take than the "correct moral stance" of your bubble. Now the same cops are policing the irresponsible people that think differently about what's happening or are unconscious enough to go out in the sun. In Romania, in the main online group that discusses Covid19, if you bring data against the official perspective you're kicked out. People are telling me that I'm brave, just because I'm suspicious with what's going on. The majority of leftists and academics were all day against "right wing and fascism", and now when true fascism arrives they lend it a hand or applaud. This is not surprising, the majority of intellectuals and journalists are very coward, they were historically helping the people to align with Nazis or other dictatorial regimes, and with the power's perspective in general.
Mimetic thinking is everywhere. In art the majority of "deciders" don't have the courage to really take an individual stance, to really discern for themselves, they just look around and go for what the trendy institutions and curators are doing. It's risky to think and decide because you can be wrong, it's safer and easier to develop a sense for what's "in", ride the trend, have the right opinions, align with the influencers in your bubble. The same in politics, plus overwhelming corporate and oligarchic influence.
In the past it was easier to have distance or suspicion about the main perspective because it came from politicians, journalists who you most likely didn't know personally. Now it comes from social media, from your 'friends' and 'followers'. Acceptance and belonging have greater value than truth and honesty. You just sense what is expected from you and conform, mostly unconsciously. You can have free speech and discussion inside the terrain of accepted assumptions. Any opinion that exits the perspective's invisible boundaries is extreme. It is easier and safer to go with the certainties of your bubble, you don't want to lose your friends and turn the mob on your case. The disagreement could be very costly, you can lose your status and work. The mimetic bubble has its antibodies. Moral cops shot you down with a label as 'truther', 'conspirationist' or something and you can be pretty much canceled. You better conform, or even better, you can be one of the cops and prove your moral stance, your importance in the tribe, and win wokeness points by policing, sanitizing the bubble and canceling the non-mimetics.
There was a lot of agitation against Orthodox Church, because of some viral videos in which priests were doing the sacrament of communion, sharing the bread and wine with all the community using the same spoon. Everybody rallied to ban the religious services and they succeeded. They made fun of the 'primitive' religious activities. But, paradoxically, exactly for the 'vulnerable' that they so proudly save by policing and imprisoning them, religion could be the only consolation, community and reason to live.
The communion is an act of faith in God but also in our community, the faith that we are capable of building herd immunity together and that our bodies have the power to fight disease, with some transcendent help. Immunity is built together through community and faith, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. Life dies in isolation, socially and biologically, without community there is no health. Who are you to tell me that my experience of communion is not what I need, maybe the right experience for my immunity and for saving my life? Nobody forces you to attend the communion, and nobody should force us to attend your 'pandemic' rituals of your medical religion.
Psychoneuroimmunology and epigenetics are confirming more and more the importance of our emotions, thinking patterns, perspectives, faith and spirituality to health. And there are many studies that show the power of spiritual practices. Probably they cannot make sense to your narrow frame of mind but that's your problem. For example they proved that, mysteriously and scientifically unexplainable, prayer raises immunity even for the people that you pray for.
You run on your physicalist/atheist/medical religion, and have the impression that you are covered by science and the religions are just a bunch of naive anachronisms. 'Science' is saying that all is matter, particles that somehow at some point produce life and consciousness. There are physical laws and everything is physically explainable, at least in principle, but overall the universe and our lives are meaningless matter configurations. But this is more scientism than science, it is a naive, conservative and obsolete image of science. The actual science disagrees, and it cuts your atheist religion at its physicalist roots.
The impossibility of understanding how any physical system could ever produce or give rise to any subjective, qualitative experiences is the “hard problem of consciousness”. The existence of subjective experience cannot be explained in physical, chemical or functional terms. It is an insurmountable problem for the physicalist science. Materialist assumptions are also contradicted by quantum physics. Consciousness determines the way in which energy and information appear as matter. Consciousness is fundamental and primordial, and it is more and more so in disease, and healing as well.
And there are models like that of the holographic universe or the conscious agents theory that got traction recently. According to the later, conscious agents are all there is, but they appear in our consciousness as elements of a material world. In this theory it would be more accurate to speak of Covid19 disease as the action of a 'devil' or 'demon' because they are closer to conscious agents than viruses. Viruses are just symbols, in the same relationship with the actual conscious agents (demons) as the icons on your phone are to the actual information processes inside the phone.
There is a dictatorship of perception. The majority being loud and aggressive against a set of beliefs, based on another set of beliefs (atheist/medical religion). This high degree of intolerance is fundamentalism. At least my religion is explicit and I'm aware of it being a religion, yours is running in the background disguised as an objective, scientific view on the world, but it is just a perspective, a set of beliefs like any other, more and more dismissed by actual science. And look what sort of ridiculous reality your religion is producing. I agree with Agamben and I'm not identifying with my bare biological life that this dictatorship of health is obsessed with. I'm interested in the spirit.
Imagine that instead of being bombarded with the repetitive messages that say: you should be suspicious, you should be afraid, the others are danger, obey the official perspective, and wash your hands obsessively, we will get something like: "there is a treatment for coronavirus – the immune system, it works in 99.9% of cases (good percentage for a treatment). We are always 'contaminated' with viruses, and the immune system usually does its work quietly in the background. Fruits, plant based foods, meditation, lowering stress, walks in nature, time out in the sun, positive social encounters, art events are all proven ways to raise immunity. And if you have the virus you are not ill, the majority of people are asymptomatic."
The atmosphere would be quite different. We would be empowered, we would feel that we can do something positive, better diet, better lifestyle choices, not only negative – increasing distance, sanitizing obsession, fear and paranoia. And we wouldn't renounce our power of healing. We wouldn't be anymore completely at the hands of medical oligarchy and governments, increasingly overlapping.
I forgot the name of the researcher that, wanting to prove the war approach on viruses as nonsense, after he boosted his immunity he drank a glass of a liquid full of dangerous viruses to prove that what matters is the immune system, the terrain not the germs. That would be an interesting reenactment now, and I would happily volunteer for that. I would be much more afraid of the reaction of the officials, of their procedures and 'treatments'. There are already studies that point out that their treatments are worse than the disease.*
Even for the worst chronic illnesses like cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, the immune system based approaches gain more and more traction. Covid19 is nothing for a not completely damaged immune system. An imunitar approach in this pandemic is very likely to save many more lives, not only from Covid19 but from many other diseases. It's estimated that one million people die every year in the US because of their diets.
The most inconvenient truth for medical oligarchy is that bodies have the capacity to self-heal. That's why this type of message is not possible, the health policies are made by medical oligarchy, like the national dietary directives are very much made by the meat and dairy industries. Their approach is war – attack of symptoms with heavy artillery which produces collateral damage, other symptoms, which in the end is not that bad because it means more drugs, more money. There are medical corporations that at different stages or in parallel, developed chemical weapons, pesticides and medical drugs – it makes sense, the same military, antibiotic approach. Medical oligarchy globally shapes the perception of diseases, treatments, health and bodies. This is the main reason for the current fear, we are completely disempowered, the implicit assumption is that only authorities can save us. Without vaccines and drug treatment we're lost. Locking ourselves and hoping for good news from authorities is the only thing to do. Meanwhile the authoritarian measures are the replacement, the proof that something is done.
A couple of days before her death, Alina Popa summarized her experience with disease and the medical perspective: "I have never trusted my body and its responses. We are taught so by education. Fever needs to be kept at bay, symptoms have to be read by specialists, you don't own your body, it is like a foreign coat you have to take care of and beware of it, look for signs, gather evidence. You are outside of your body, you analyse it scientifically but what does this mean. It means that you are placing it in the scripts written by strangers who are afraid of the wonder of reality and want to restrict its vastness to a few predictable scenarios.
The body is real but what we think about it is fiction. Medical views are the fiction imposed on us by modernity and capitalism. This is a consensus fiction. How you regard the body, how you name, determines how you act upon it and also how it acts back. We are free, and the body actually calls for individual fictions, or for fictions that give it trust and freedom.
Perspective creates reality. To change the standard perspective is almost impossible. It cannot be done mentally, it needs different practices - to practice ways to interact with the world that give back reality its multiplicity. We actually don't truly interact with the world anymore. That is because we know too well the practices that are possible, and so they will give back the same outcomes. The body is as alien as the world. And we have to embrace its strangeness."
Finally the right and the left are united in supporting authorities in their actions as never before. I'm glad that all that critical thinking and suspicion towards authorities and official narratives are gone. But not completely, and here the agencies can have a bigger role in collaborating with media and social media to marginalize or even eliminate critical voices. In our era of algorithm based news feeds this is a banal task, already done, but it can be radicalized, because now is the moment to be united in the face of this horrible danger, otherwise we will die.
Our governments are not doing enough to flatten the curve. A lot of our tax money goes into defense and secret agencies. Now it's time to really prove their worth. A big problem is that some people still hug, touch each other, have sex in their homes. The measures should be imposed there too. Authorities should have more access to people's devices and lives. Using data from cameras, microphones and other sensors, AI technology will be able to identify those who don't respect the measures, and they can be removed from their homes. Also the citizens should be instructed to inform authorities if they suspect their neighbors for not respecting the measures.
They say that we're at war with the virus. So let's really be, we can call this operation "war on death". And who else if not the army should be in the first line. I saw that they're using drones to control and impose the measures to isolated people and communities. But they can also use the aviation to drop disinfectant on buildings and populations in the cities. Tanks should be on the streets to boost morale, to show our strength and willingness to fight, and also to show that this is very serious and we better stay home. They should also fire their weapons in the air from time to time, even their tanks in unpopulated areas near the cities, this will further prove the lengths we're willing to go to protect ourselves. And they may even kill some viruses.
In one of his days among the Amazonian Pirahãs, Daniel Everett noticed that they were talking excitedly about what was happening just across the river. Daniel and his daughter couldn't understand why, they only saw an empty beach. All the village was seeing a spirit there. “I could never have proved to the Pirahãs that the beach was empty. Nor could they have convinced me that there was anything, much less a spirit, on it." The two perceptions were irreconcilable, a radical disagreement persisted about what the reality across the river was. They looked into two different worlds. For Daniel Everett the explanation is that a radically different culture produces a radically different way in which language functions, and this allows different perceptual possibilities. But for some Amazonian tribes, there is no objective reality with different perspectives on it, but the perspectives are creating the realities (Viveiros de Castro). In this 'multinaturalism', the question would be not how Daniel or the Pirahãs see the world, but what kind of worlds their perspectives access or create. Change the perspective is changing the world.
Perspectives are usually transparent, you may feel that you are directly accessing an objective reality but you're inside a perspective. You cannot just change your perspectives, it doesn't work as easy as mentally deciding what you want to believe in. The tribe seeing the spirits across the river cannot just voluntarily unsee them, and the anthropologists cannot just voluntarily see them. You need special practices to become aware of your perspectives and change them. Traditionally this was done through technologies of the self, forms of life practices that were the domain of religion and spirituality. But discipline, fixed dogmas and rigid practices often transform religions into perspectival traps.
Only by operating on our perspectives we can change what is possible to think, perceive and feel, the form of our life and reality. Without working with beliefs you cannot operate at the levels of perspectives. But it's hard nowadays to argue that a specific religion is the truth against all others, so it's hard to believe. But we can have a meta belief in the phenomenon of belief, in the fact that building beliefs we build perspectives that shape life and reality. To generate our own faith, perspectives, religions we need to create our own practices, our own forms of life. This is more an artistic perspective than a religious or spiritual one. Nietzsche saw the potential in approaching life through art but he noticed that sadly, the artists are not applying their craft to it.
New forms of thinking, perceiving, sensing and living are emerging in art and are slowly permeating society. Art can affect the perspectives, it can produce mini-crises in perception and sensibility, interruptions, cognitive dissonances, perturbations in our minds, bodies and in our worlds, opening the terrain for new reflections, sensibilities, possibilities. And art often aims to surpass itself, embedding a transcendent function at its core – important artworks are redefining what art means. They escape their frames, redefine their own conditions, their own perspective. This meta function makes art the contemporary available way to access, affect or even create perspectives. Unfortunately, in the artworld, this function of art is ignored or suppressed more and more.
Covid19 is present in my life through changes in the affective atmosphere that surrounds me. As limitations of rights. As a fear spectacle, people wearing masks, gloves, being suspicious, paranoid with each other. As stories of a few friends' distant relatives that were counted as Covid19 deaths although they were dying of cancer, heart diseases… I would take measures too if I would see people around getting sick and die, but this is not at all the case. My actual experience is of seeing people behaving weird because they replaced their experiential reality with a sinister media constructed fiction.
Even if I would have the symptoms, I wouldn't want to know "what germs caused them". As far as my embodied experience goes, germs, viruses don't really exist. I would have a fever, I would cough, that's the experience, not a virus. Sure, I can abstract and name the experience 'flu' or something, but it's not necessary. I know from experience that I get those symptoms when I eat badly or I'm stressed, anxious, exhausted. And I know that healing means eating healthier, fruits, relaxing, spiritual or artistic practices, time spent in nature… And I also know that I have to be careful with vulnerable people, because it can be contagious. And I certainly know better than to go to hospital to subject myself to proved ridiculous tests and damaging treatments.*
Covid19 danger is spread by people infected with sick narratives. I don't trust the main spreaders. They see life as dangers, restrictions, struggles, control, not at all as joy, expansion, playfulness, love. They transform reality in germs, and life into idiotic fears. I don't like how they are in their bodies. I see through their fear production spectacle, through their ugly masks. I don't trust them for protecting lives, they feel dead, they give me the chills.
I don't even want to know that this virus exists. I'm not interested in being aware of all the germs and dangers that are hidden in the simplest human interactions. I'm not into hygienic madness. It's like being constantly obsessed with the risk of being hit by a car, and structuring all the aspects of life, culture, art, religion, society around that. We're infected with an insane herd mentality. We cannot embrace each other anymore, or if we do, we feel it more like an act of courage or resistance than as connection.
If we collectively renounce the pathological perspective, Covid19 will disappear. But people seem to prefer staying afraid and isolated, waiting for the savior, the rushed up vaccine. It's their choice, the problem is that they impose their perspective. I don't like impositions on my fundamental experience of health, body and reality. I dislike tyranny. Not even Ceaușescu invaded so much the intimate level of body and health perspectives. But I don't know why I'm even fighting this religion, it already took everything from me, it may as well finish its process.
Any collective action has to take in account multiple perspectives, otherwise it is authoritarian. Now we're running only on the oficial perspective which means dictatorship. We need a democracy of perspectives. And we have to take care of the minor, minoritarian ones because new questions, solutions and progress are always coming from there. If you live in the oficial perspective you can very well take the measures that you need, self-isolate, wash your hands obsessively, were special masks…, but it's no need to impose your fear and measures on the entire society on the premise that your truth and actions are the only ones reasonable, adequate, responsible. Even if this is the case, we the others have the right to be wrong. And don't tell me that vulnerable lives are at stake, because this is always the case. By driving your car you put many more people at risk than enjoying the sun in a park (currently banned in Bucharest).
An argument can be made for mandatory imposing outdoor activities in the sun, attending spiritual practices, art events, eating plant based…, because all these are proven ways of promoting health and raising immunity, and many vulnerable lives will be lost otherwise because of impaired immunity. This will also save lives from heart disease and other chronic diseases that are killing many more than covid. But the "vulnerable lives" should have a saying and a right in protecting their lives as they consider, based on their perspectives on life, health and reality. I hope that humanity is not irreversibly transformed into battery farms where mere biological life and a very narrow vision of health dictates the policies. We should have the right to a different perspective, no matter how 'dangerous' it seems to be. And a different perspective is always dangerous because it attacks your identity.
For avoiding totalitarianism we should try to go meta from time to time, to become aware that we're always inside a perspective from which others appear wrong and dangerous. And we should be aware that we feel the need to protect ours and ourselves by attacking and destroying other perspectives. Holding multiple contradictory perspectives at the same time is a shamanic capacity. It is the way in which they travel between worlds – different perspectives are shaping different worlds. But unless we're shamans we cannot live in multiple worlds at the same time. So we hold to our perspective for our dear life, we don't want to go insane. But we should still make an effort to reach out to other points of view if we don't want to descend into total closure of the minds and realities. Maybe art can help us in this exploration, or a form of spirituality or even more universally, love. Many religious, spiritual and new age theories are saying that we always have the choice to act based on fear or love and everything is decided by this fear - love dynamic. It might be a simplistic view, but it is surprisingly actual now, when our politics and our lives are so much fear based. Although 'fear' is somehow twisted to mean 'love'. The twist is possible because 'love' is exhausted and perverted, it can mean anything, from sexuality to meaningless empty slogans of corporate care. One thing that is increasingly disappearing from 'love' is the body experience of the actual feeling of it. The love that can push you out of yourself and open you up for other perspectives. It can be a form of shamanism in a way, it forces you to live in at least two perspectives at the same time. That's why sometimes love can be felt as a crisis. But crises can be good, things are moving, changing, perspectives have a chance to realign.
The current crisis can also be an occasion to alter our curse, collectively. If we look into history, usually the bad powerful entities are the ones that know how to use a good crisis. Maybe if we give less love to their official perspective, and a little more to some less viral perspectives, we can prevent them this time. On the positive side, Covid19 seems to give a common body to the world. Suddenly race, gender, sexual orientation are irrelevant (not even age but immunity). Probably this stops for a while identity politics that were the norm everywhere and we can start to see identities as what they often are, perspectival traps that should be overcome. And we can start to compose ourselves less based on securing and protecting perspectives and identities against everyone else, and more on the capacity of accessing, exploring and creating multiple perspectives.
*Data and references
2020 March-May (perspective 3 added in February 2021)