A Journal of the Plague Year 2020: Preamble


by Sanjay Perera

“So don’t let the bastards grind you down,” “Acrobat”, U2.

A comment on where we are. The site will remain on hiatus as most of the pieces that were coming in post-Trump had been organised largely along clear ideological lines: like those that have been drawn up by the so-called ‘Leftists’ in the UK (read: the moribund Labour Party), and the stonewalling Democrats in the US. Instead of genuine solutions and a showing of the way forward there are the same old chants, whining, and political mumbo-jumbo that trivialise social ideals and make anything aligned to self-reliance, independent thought, and individual freedom something only ‘rightist’ blowhards rant about. The good ideas from the Left have morphed into caricature and farce as enacted daily by its major political representatives in the US and Britain.

Philosophers for Change was not set up according to ideological lines. It is based on ideas from revolutionists like Lenin: that in order to get your ideas in somewhere you have to operate within pre-existing frameworks of pre-conceived notions (including what is ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ etc.) to start the process of actual change. If a strong ‘Left’ stance was not taken for the site it would have been difficult (and it was) to get article contributions. If pieces by those who had something useful to say also ended up by concluding ‘capitalism’ not ‘socialism’ is the answer that would not have been useful for the site either. A careful look at the pieces on the site over the years will show that they tend to go beyond ideological posturing and garden variety secularity.

But the endgame is at hand: one of the reasons that the site is on hiatus is because President Trump is doing a remarkable job upsetting the status quo in trying to drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C.: that cesspool of scoundrels and saboteurs of whatever good that is left of American ideals. This is not about any ‘ideological’ support for Trump or Boris Johnson: but the revolutionist point-of-view is that whoever helps bring the blackguards behind-the-scenes down from their perch of control (e.g. of the mainstream media) should be given support.

Bring down the old to create the new.

Prejudice over personalities should be suspended to see where/how certain controversial figures are appropriately stirring resistance against them because they are rocking the boat, big time.

That, unfortunately or otherwise, is how serious change happens.

And that is exactly what is happening as the pieces move clumsily into the final phase. The concerted pathetic efforts to undermine virtually anything Trump or Boris Johnson do (and social media news sites are just as guilty) only show up as stridency, incoherence, and morally defunct unsustainable ideas. No viable and uplifting alternative is presented

The latest virus scare has become that agent of change of the unlikeliest sort; indeed, the virus is not to be taken lightly but there have been numerous causes of death from so many illnesses that are still with us, casualties from poverty, malnutrition, smoking, fast food, car accidents, plagues of the past, and whatever else that can be added to the list.

Yet the fear generated by, and on behalf of, this ‘pandemic’ has not only eclipsed all other major long-standing causes of illness and demise: it is brainwashing many into a consciousness or mindset of fear; a state of such irrationality that panic-buying and inordinate hoarding are becoming the norm.

(If there is any doubt look at what the media emphasises with glee; lockdowns, scarcity, death, illness, promoting every possible form of fear, and anything that is negative.)

The media and those driving it are the prime movers in promoting a fear and trembling, and a sickness unto death—beyond what Kierkegaard could ever have imagined.

The current state of anxiety proves that the status quo is not (was never) tenable and that ‘conventional wisdom’ is not wisdom but the kind of brain-dead ideas that have helped preserve ‘life-as-we-know-it’. Unconventional ideas are needed. More than at any other moment this is the time for creativity: we need the creativity of entrepreneurs and all others; true entrepreneurship is a form of artistry. From nothing, something new is created; this gives a way forward; new ideas expressed through various forms including artistic expression are also needed.

For those who have been sleeping: there is no going back. Economies can ‘bounce’ back but there is no turning back. If anyone thinks that there was a ‘conspiracy’ at work with the virus, well, the perpetrators overreached themselves. They have pushed things in their bid to retain control in such a manner that they may bring down the walls of the temple onto their heads.

For those who think that it is going to be ‘business as usual’ after this subsides at some point, think again. Will retail, entertainment and many other sectors really be the same again? For the entrepreneurs out there: don’t wait, this is the time for you to act. Get to work for the best interests of all. Come up with the models and processes to replace the old.

There are those who are savvy with their finances and who want their capital to thrive, and who will know what to do: they will take the appropriate risks with the new entrepreneurs who will arise from this crisis. Opportunities abound; only the media and others with an agenda of their own, are trying to make us cower and think otherwise.

For those who want new ideas to create new economic systems to replace the collapsing old ‘reality’, support those who are doing what they can creatively to show the way forward. Of course, the current collapsing paradigm and its supporters who hope to carry on as before and compete for that ‘steady’ pay cheque (and then realise it is still not enough for most), will trudge on as the rest of us struggle to find a new way in what to do next.

But working from home because you have to stay home due to the virus is becoming a norm.

Do note that good is also being mobilised: which the media does not emphasise enough nor give proper analysis of. For instance,

For those who asked for change, that time is here. For those who intellectualised and philosophised for change, that time is here. For those who have been praying for change, that time is here.

Be calm; be well; be creative.

That time is now.

(May be of interest: How Kafkaville Got Its Name)

[Featured picture: steampunk.wonderhowto; above picture credit: netclipart.]


The writer is the founding editor of Philosophers for Change.

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