It is that time of the year we look forward and promise to be a better person for all our failures. This year there is an additional burden, which made us a little more aware of how our world is organized and what matters in life. So to the next year we carry the hope of normality and finally to be able to mourn our losses. Those who had gone and other uncertainties we have picked up because of Covid-19. It would be nice to say there end all the 2020’s troubles. But we have witnessed again and again how unequal the world is by your income, the color of your skin, the area code (nation- and world-wide), and gender, to name a few. Now, as the rush to the vaccinations is at hand, inequality shows once again what our world is made of: the winner takes all and it is good to be rich. So here I sit, wondering where the heck did we get it all wrong? What is the single point in time I could go back with my time machine (yes, I have one) and change, so 2020 hadn’t been like it had been with or without the Covid-19? Because in the grand scheme of things, this virus is small-times compared to what we keep doing in the name of our economics and individualistic philosophies to our planet and to our fellow human beings. All I see is the worship of a hedonistic man who stands on a pedestal as they marvel at their body from a phone screen accompanied by likes, shouting into the void as the nihilism has rotten them to their core—the suffering of existing.
Yet, somewhere there is no illusion of suffering, there is one. Hunger and pain, while the other side burns the candle as if the apocalypse is coming. And while the suffering clings to the hope of equality, the others celebrate the notion of all this will happen again so they don’t have to lose their marvelous self. And here I sit, wondering why on earth I had to write about this? I was meant to come here and say something like instead of making new year’s promises, let’s look back and be thankful for all the things we got right. And then I would have made a joke about how I failed my last year’s promise about not spending money 2020 at all (except on essentials). I bought new hiking boots and so on, and how there are always good reasons not to go through with silly oaths as they are just that, silly. Then I would have said something like despite my failure of not buy year, I learned a valuable lesson about money and myself. Now all this feels so empty and trivial.
But trivial and empty part is vital because it is part of the problem. I would call myself a somewhat aware person who has strong values, which affects my behavior. The equation isn’t just that simple. Values are not concrete things. They are abstract and tied to situations and the environment. So now we come back to my failure of not buy year, the hedonistic man, and to the fact that we keep destroying our planet for failed economic logic (winner takes all, constant growth, and everything is about making money with all cost and the one who has all the money is the king of all humanity.) All those are tied together. They are the product of the same environment and shared goals and values. It is hard to keep your values when your environment encourages certain behavior, showing us what is valuable and what isn’t, what kind of person you should be, and what you should aspire to. The only person I know who does act according to his values is my husband, and I admire him for it, but his methods aren’t exactly how we can solve our problems. He doesn’t want to be part of this world and isn’t. His disengagement isn’t a solution. It is a symptom. It won’t help us change our world. Nor does luxury products with environmentally friendly tags so the rich can buy their conscience clean. First of all, that is still consuming in the name of consuming and pimping up the hedonistic man so others can marvel at you. Secondly, if that is the salvation, those who have to count all their pennies to survive are left out and blamed for their failures when they buy cheap red meat and plastic toys. What else can they do? They are still part of the same aspirations as those who can afford the “right” products.
And the thing is, I don’t actually have to go back with my time machine. We sit in a perfect spot to change everything. Get our mind out of our phones and our own needs, and be part of the community, which builds a better future for the future kids. Covid-19 has shown us change is possible if we just want it. (Think of all the grounded plains or the silence of motorways, so marvelous.) It has already changed our consumption patterns and general behavior. All of us have seen we need less than we had before. That it is the loved ones who are important over everything else. There is no need to rush to normality. There is a need to learn and change our behavior. So 2021 is coming, and all I hope is we together would decide not to be the monkey (I am being rude towards monkeys, they tend not to be as silly as humans are) on the pedestal distracted by our phones from what is real. Not to stuff our minds with empty distractions, yet, I know this is a naive dream. So I leave you here, having at least shared this with someone, and wish you a great next year.
Thank you for reading!