Notes on the State of Exception Part II
Disease was a perverse, a dissolute form of life.
We translate a new mode of living—the biopolitical mode—into our old moral and political principles, trying to create a social harmony that cannot, fundamentally, exist. Having internalized the dominant liberal Covid-response paradigm—which conflates conflated liability and risk—many are willing ask for more surveillance and control, assuming, irrationally, that life cannot continue otherwise.
Our ability to self-regulate has been disabled by our emotional reliance on the idea of state intervention. Rather than acknowledge the harms of excessive, fear-driven medical intervention (remember the ventilator craze) or state intervention (check out the overdose numbers lately?), tens of millions of Americans want to believe that the president’s attitude has some magic power to persuade Covid to stop—and would celebrate a federal level lockdown under Biden.
Even when most of the population is eventually immune to Covid, it seems possible that many of the most paranoid, and most angry, of us will not ever go ‘back to normal’; they will continue to live in the governmental Truman Show, addicted to the performance of control.
If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason if you want to go on a cruise ship, go on a cruise ship.
March 9th, 2020
Many physically healthy people cannot make any kind of rational calculus; they have confused absolute precaution with rationality, morality (‘going outside without a mask is evil’) with science or the scientific process. For these people, if lockdown states (like New York or New Jersey) had the most Covid deaths, then the lockdowns weren’t hard enough; if states with severe mask mandates see continued infection spikes, then masks aren’t being worn well enough; if Sweden is flourishing, then it’s only because they conducted an experiment in human sacrifice; if Trump easily recovered, then he must have had better care than the average American—and so on and so on.
I wonder: why can’t we accept the very human condition of not-knowing? Why does our common culture necessarily involve a suspension of the suspension of disbelief? Why can’t we live skeptically? Why do we insist on a simplified vision of reality rather than the teaming plurality our senses reveal to us?
Science is jealous of magic—its older brother. Experts behave like priests; to their millions of followers, they essentially are priests, divining the future behavior of The Virus. And just like priests, their predictions are no better than guesses. Neil Ferguson’s model was no more accurate than bird entrails in the Temple of Apollo would have been; Carl T. Bergstrom understood the behavior of the The Virus no better than he understood the machinations of Zeus; the noble journalists at The Atlantic told us Georgia and Florida were headed for mass graves; almost every major news purveyor wisely foretold the doom of Sweden (unless it saw the truth of masks and lockdowns). Robert Redfield told us—while waving a piece of cloth in front of his face like a charm or talisman—that masks could save more lives than a vaccine (in the name of official state religion of Science of course). And while all of these predictions were either wrong, or were simply impossible to verify (like Redfield’s mask claim), it hasn’t mattered to the true believers, to the faithful. And why should it? Their faith makes them feel powerful and secure.
I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds.
Historical pandemics, were, by all historical accounts, pragmatically verifiable—materially consequential in ways that could not be denied. Plagues filled the streets, touched every home, toppled empires, started and ended wars, wiped out populations. They were not detected by the ultra-sensitive instruments of technological medicine: they were experienced by the five senses. With the possible exception of a few hospitals in New York, Bergamo, Wuhan, and Madrid—the same cannot be said of Covid. Covid is the first theoretical plague in human history: the first that would not exist as a pragmatic phenomenon for people if we stopped thinking about it.
Covid hysterics are members of a digital death-cult where victims digitally gather around the burning effigy of the Orange Bad Man to hurl insults and curses.
Our obsessively technological modes of life—our fetishization of technological solutions to the problem of how to live a good life—deny us access to our own interiority, hurting us and herding us into collective modes of thinking and being which completely override our own individual impulses. Nervous systems have been completely hijacked, individual personalities turned vectors for aggregated opinions. We have normalized the psychological torture of information addiction—utterly content to spend days, weeks, and months calculating the likelihood of contracting a mild respiratory infection or the odds a third rate presidential candidate will win. The Covid-era—in which we all spend more home at time doing nothing more than consuming ‘the news’ or (anti) social media—has encouraged a pauperism of the mind, a profoundly disturbing poverty of thought.
Because COVID ideology represents a suppression and repression of the body—the field upon which the soul expresses itself—it also represents an attack on the soul and soulfulness.
Our soul seems to shrink proportionately to the growth of our public personas. One shrinks in proportion to the other’s growth.
Truth has been deployed in the form of entertainment; entertainment has branded itself as truth. Historical determinism is evoked without reference to historical facts. You do not hear people discuss their aspiration to learn; you hear them promote their latest political-historical revelation. People believe in simple ‘A causes B end of story’ formulas—and they’re proud of it. A new free thought needs to be carved out of the fog of insufferable wokeness that has descended over everything.