Basic

Relections

The earth is beginning its tilt back towards the sun and light is edging closer to us; colours are creeping back to cancel out the cold grey tones of winter.

It's easy to drift into despair at the current times. The frustration and sense of powerlessness is pervasive and universal. The pandemic has disconnected the bridges between the economic and the social and in doing so, has highlighted further the systemic issues that have been building unchecked over time, and have now made them unavoidable and confronting. The situation in Victoria has arguably exposed the inequities of our society - even when it comes to how the disease is spread and who bears the greatest risk. The need to survive has pressured those of us to continue working with our precarious work - putting ourselves and others at risk; the essential workers (who are paid modestly given the new heightened risk of their work) making sure there is food and basic services available, and the health workers who are putting their lives on the line every day for all of us.

The rupturing of the connections between the social and the economic amplifies how strong the relationship of these fields is and forces us to answer some uncomfortable questions and perhaps most crucially: can we continue to survive when the value system we have been living under depends on continuous growth and productivity, when we cannot continue to interact in a physical sense?

Inherent within the question are the macro-level, systemic considerations that are outside the realm of individual control. The sense of powerlessness that comes with this perhaps compounds the current feelings of impotence that is permeating so many parts of a seemingly, ever-shrinking life. I ask: will I get sick? will the people I most care about get sick? will I still have a means of income and support? will the social and cultural world actually survive through this crisis? All answers are unknown and if dwelled upon only lead to feelings of inertia at best - despair and depression at worst.

But this situation at its most basic level is also a kind of mirror. It is forcing me to look at myself every day and to face up to who I am. There are limited distractions or chances to escape from myself and while this is confronting and frustrating, it is also giving me a chance to better understand myself and to try to be a better person at the end of it.

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