A few times most days I encounter, “Hi, Michael. How are you doing?” And it is more genuine than usual. I mostly don’t know how to respond. The inquiry seems to trigger far more than I am able to get a hold of. So much so that I can’t give any kind of clear answer, no matter how vague. If I could, I would say, overall, that I am kind of unsettled, which is a very new experience for me. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes more than that, and sometimes not that much of a deal. Even though the rhythm and quality of the days are quite different, I think I am much more present to the energy in spaces than of particulars. Nothing is quite usual, even the usual things. This is true of how I am working with my writing. And I think we don’t grasp—nay, can’t, maybe—the scale of the unusual we are currently riding. Yet, I think we sense it. Sense it in the ways that our 500 million year old bodies are attuned to what’s happening, a knowing far away from our conscious awareness. What we are dealing with might be hugely unusual, but still on a scale we can grapple with. But then it might be far more than that. W e d o n o t k n o w. And if that is what’s happening, it sure seems that it would come so much faster than the pace of evolution. Rightfully we have been looking toward our epidemiologists and pandemiologists for crucial clues and speculations we need to be working with right now. But maybe the hand full of people who have been looking carefully at what the civilizational consequences of climate warming could be in worst case scenarios are another vital source of information for us about our current circumstances. Whether that kind of scenario is where we are headed for or not, we need, I think, to be thinking about it in a “what if” mode as well as we can. If actual outcomes turn out to be far short of such an extreme way of attending to what is happening, the benefits would still be of great value. Before this coronavirus pandemic we had no idea of where we had come to in our development as a species and the kind of life we have created. This holds even for those who “knew” better than any of us.
Our utter unpreparedness in virtually every dimension has become so glaring we can’t bear the intensity of the light. So, for anyone who has just barely enough humility about their powers of knowing and understanding to be brought to their knees, the first order of business after survival will have to be a profound assessment of our assumptions. Every one of us, and every single assumption without exception! And, of course, we won’t be able to do this well. But do what we can we must.