Cook on Covid-19

20 Mar
When death stalks us it is not bankers we turn to, or corporate executives, or hedge fund managers. Nonetheless, those are the people our societies have best rewarded.

Marx is misunderstood. His use of the word materialism is not the thing denounced by spiritual teachers. He never advocated it as way of life; rather, as way of understanding history, seeing through the self serving lies and delusions of those who rule. There is a deeply spiritual aspect to Marx, permeating all his work, above all in his materially anchored analysis of alienation.

I don’t know if one of my favourite bloggers, the calmly reasoned Jonathan Cook, sees himself as a Marxist. I’m sure from the way he writes he’s an admirer. Be that as it may, here’s his post of March 15 on his View from Nazareth site. It begins like this:

If a disease can teach wisdom beyond our understanding of how precarious and precious life is, the coronavirus has offered two lessons.

The first is that in a globalised world our lives are so intertwined that the idea of viewing ourselves as islands – whether as individuals, communities, nations, or a uniquely privileged species – should be understood as evidence of false consciousness. In truth, we were always bound together, part of a miraculous web of life on our planet and, beyond it, stardust in an unfathomably large and complex universe.

It is only an arrogance cultivated in us by those narcissists who have risen to power through their own destructive egotism that blinded us to the necessary mix of humility and awe we ought to feel as we watch a drop of rain on a leaf, or a baby struggle to crawl, or the night sky revealed in all its myriad glories away from city lights.

And now, as we start to enter periods of quarantine and self-isolation – as nations, communities and individuals – all that should be so much clearer. It has taken a virus to show us that only together are we at our strongest, most alive and most human.

In being stripped of what we need most by the threat of contagion, we are reminded of how much we have taken community for granted, abused it, hollowed it out. We are afraid because …

One Reply to “Cook on Covid-19”

  1. Just come across this piece from the Guardian, of all places, of Wednesday this week:

    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/18/coronavirus-uk-expert-advice-wrong?CMP=share_btn_tw&__twitter_impression=true

    The underlying key point being that after some four decades of piratisation, constant financial cutbacks, the abandonment of organisation as an organising principle – see here
    http://www.harrowell.org.uk/blog/2018/01/31/in-the-eternal-inferno-fiends-torment-ronald-coase-with-the-fate-of-his-ideas/

    there is no system robustness, no system spare capacity, no system versatility, and no system capability anywhere from health care to transport; agriculture to distribution in Western culture.

    Everything has been gutted and if anything cannot handle, cope or deal with any situation outside the simplistic narrow tick in a box process which is a feature rather than a bug it, and everything else related to it, falls over.

    And only a very few, like Cook here, are properly dealing with these aspects. This is not a crisis of a single evolved virus/organism it is a crisis of the total inability of what passes for organised systems, gutted and hollowed out over decades, to function beyond the narrow confines of atomisation based on the ravings of people like Ayan Rand and their deluded followers.

    Cook’s observations, amongst others, along with the observations in the Guardian article should be a wake up call to those sections of the self identified and self labelled (branded) ‘Alternative Media’ who are too busy following the dictum of Karl Rove by self indulgently ignoring the real issues in favour of their own individualised, subjective, post modernist created reality.

    Creating straw man fantasies based on extreme outlier examples to shore up a collapsing narrative which has missed the essential points. Points which have even penetrated the sodding Guardian.

    Strange times.

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