“Moths and other nocturnal insects navigate by the moon and stars. Those heavenly bodies are useful for them to find their way, even though they never get far from the surface of the earth. But lightbulbs and candles send them astray; they fly into the heat or the flame and die. For these creatures, to arrive is a calamity. When activists mistake heaven for some goal at which they must arrive, rather than an idea to navigate Earth by, they burn themselves out, or they set up a totalitarian utopia in which others are burned in the flames. Don’t mistake a lightbulb for the moon, and don’t believe that the moon is useless unless we land on it.”
Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities
Don’t mistake goals as a destination, rather than an idea to navigate.
If this how the anti-vaxxers maskers respond to a global pandemic, then it’s pretty clear how they will react to the consequences of climate change.
When the internet first came along, people were scared to buy anything online because nobody trusted the world wide web. Now people will amplify and endorse fake news and views like gospel. Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true, should be changed to just because you saw it on Facebook doesn’t make it accurate.
Sadly, it took a deadly pandemic to remind people that fake news is fake.
Fake news farms have met their match, especially with the older generation who are scared shitless by the US government’s handling of the pandemic. By letting the virus get out of control, it’s put their lives at risk. In the past, they had the privilege to share fake news because they weren’t personally affected by the consequences. Covid-19 is a reality check. It’s not just about the health of their 401k anymore.
Data-driven evidence, expert guidance, science and leadership matters. The virus doesn’t go away because of conspiracy theories from charismatic politicians or cable news clowns and entertainers. Hope and lies are not treatment regimes. The antidote for Covid-19 is cold hard facts and self-sacrifice. Unfortunately that’s in short supply right now.
Maybe COVID-19 is like a vaccine that helps us develop anti-bodies against fake news and charlatan politicians and presidents. Maybe when this happens again, our anti-bodies will kick in, and we will be more resistant to junk news and false prophets.
A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Soon afterwards, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace, he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, who made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant’s horse, he flees at great speed to Samarra, where he believes Death will not find him.
The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture to his servant. She replies, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
“In a beautiful short story, the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore describes the meandering paths between villages in India. Skipping along, guided by their imaginations or a winding stream, a detour to a beautiful outlook, or stepping around a sharp rock, barefoot children wove zigzag trails through the countryside. When they grew older, got sandals, and began carrying heavy loads, the routes became narrow, straight, and purposeful.”
Frank Ostaseski, The Five Invitations
When last did you take your shoes off and walk barefoot?
Schools are well funded, and all the neighborhood kids attend the same school. Teachers and parents are accountable to each other outside of school hours. It takes a village to raise a child.
Schools and daycare are affordable.
Community members are in service to each other. Policeman, baristas, doctors, teachers accountants, small business owners, civil servants all know each other. Their kids attend the same schools, they collaborate, and interactions are in person.
Everything is walkable, which means there’s more face to face interaction. Cars are containers that limit serendipitous discovery. Stay away from places without sidewalks. Places that don’t promote walkability are broadcasting that visitors and interactions aren’t welcome.
The community supports the elderly through multi-generational homes, well-maintained sidewalks, and subsidized bus services.
Public libraries are central to the community, authors are invited to speak, and different points of view are aired and discussed.
There are public parks and sports centers for tennis, swimming, golf, bowling, basketball, baseball. Central gathering points encourage people to break bread together and exchange ideas.
Swimming is an all-body workout. It strengthens your muscles, heart, and brain. It’s better than any medicine out there.
Swimming is gentle on the joints. It’s the opposite of running, which is like putting your knees and hips through a meat shredder.
You can’t bring your phone into the water, so it’s a forced disconnect. No checking your phone when stretching or taking a breather.
It’s brain yoga. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the water that keeps your lizard brain firing. Will a shark eat you? Is the swell or current knocking you off track? Is that a fish or a turtle? A dynamic environment keeps you in the moment and gets you out of future thinking or past thinking.
Swimming in cold water requires more energy from your body to keep you warm and regulate temperature. That’s a workout in itself.
You will meet like-minded people and build a community over time. That’s good for your mental state mind.
Living close to the ocean is good for your health and longevity.
After the swim, you get to have a hot cup of tea and warm up.