A Journal of the Plague Year 2020: The use of the Imagination


by Sanjay Perera

Why do most people still believe governments and the media? It has disseminated widely that fiction writers had mentioned a virus spreading from Wuhan thanks to its viral laboratory. How many took that seriously over the years (especially since it was mentioned in novels)? There were governments that were aware late last year that there was something dangerous spreading in China. Yet there was hardly mention of it in the lamestream media (which has gone bug-eyed reporting deaths and everything disastrous that has befallen the world courtesy of the virus since) when it mattered. There were no attempts to speak to any author early in the year on the uncannily accurate ‘speculations’ about said virus that has violated all national boundaries. Fiction writers are storytellers but the media spins narratives based on ‘facts’—and when they have a good news story it is not that kind of ‘story’.

Governments who were in the know (some politicians are clever fellows) kept quiet: they then were, it appears, bizarrely ill-prepared for what happened. Many all over were scrambling not only for face masks (the latest in fashion statements) but some state’s pondered in awe that supply chains of commodities could be disrupted (who would have thought of that other than those who do precisely that: imagining what could happen).

Famous words of hubris: “We’re better prepared now because of our experience with ‘Acme virus’ et al. some years ago, so not to worry”—and then the number of infections escalates. People even die. Why do we keep believing such statements? Yet it is easier to point to works of fiction and say: come on, you believe that? And then it happens. And then the response is: but it is only a coincidence (or that it is not completely accurate for the novel says 100% mortality but it’s not so; only some people die of it). Better to tune in to the media instead (also a form of addiction).

Is it a surprise that there are a minority of enormously wealthy entrepreneurs who are contemplating not only space travel but leaving the planet for good? Chances of spending the rest of one’s life on a space voyage to wherever without ever landing are high but what is it that they know that the fake news media and many governments are not telling us? (Rather, what is it they know that many governments and the media do not know and would not be able to comprehend, anyway). Why take a risk with that kind of extraterrestrial adventure? Perhaps it is a goal-directed risk as opposed to staying here and listening to lies broadcasted at you for the rest of your unnatural life.

But all that has been explored already through fiction: none of this is new but the translation of the imagined into reality; and this conversion rate of the imaginary into actuality will accelerate. Count on it. If you can imagine that a virus could spread from a specific location you better believe that it is possible (and not be surprised when a viral outbreak actually occurs from said location). If countless works of fiction and non-fiction have discussed how governments and the media lie all the time: be less incredulous at not being told the truth about many things.

Does the media state that the more money that is printed or given out in the form of bailouts etc., the faster the value of the currency devalues? The reason for that is though the truth about the financial system is hidden in plain sight, it is not discussed openly nor taught in schools which have education systems that increasingly fail students in preparing them for the realities of living in this world. Surprisingly, fiction does prepare you for the realities. You have been prepared for it by those who have used their imagination and their own research; by those who utilise the media as that touchstone for what is false (i.e., if you imagine the opposite of what is broadcasted at you, you will be closer to what actually is or possibilities that will eventuate).

The corollary: where is the financial education and literacy that each generation needs? A genuine and proper understanding of the economic system that is in place is never provided in educational institutions (mainstream economics is an obfuscation of economic reality).

For those who have enforced time on their hands due to the viral crisis: take the effort to build your financial literacy; start with finding out about the failure of economics (in particular neoclassical economics), and the hollowness of the financial system that can be exploited if you know how (and thereby avoid becoming a victim of it); the financial system is not there for altruistic reasons. Be strict with how you spend your time: waste as little time as humanly possible with mainstream fakers and propagandists, and educate yourself in financial literacy and with as wide a reading of fiction as you can manage; doing so will not only spur some into much needed entrepreneurship but remove those blinkers that have been kept over the eyes by the education system. Be well.

[Featured picture: pixabay; above picture: Michael Wolgemut.]


The writer is the founding editor of Philosophers for Change.

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