When I lived in Switzerland, there was a joke.
The logs at the top of the pile needs the ones at the bottom to be really, really, stable.apochryphal
As we get past the initial disorientation of what’s going on, past the stockpiling (interesting that the British do toilet rolls, whilst the Americans seem to do guns) and the bravado, past the hysteria of the tabloid press and into something of a pattern, the unexpected consequences begin to become clear.
- Who is important to the functioning of our society. The Key workers. The natural Givers.
- “Our people are our most important asset” gets seriously tested.
- The amount of froth in our economic coffee. The staggering amount of largely pointless activity that consumes attention but leaves no lasting trace, from coffee shops to celebrities.
- The fragility of international supply chains, and the comfort of buying from people who we know.
- The immediate effect on our CO2 emissions. We’ve talked about in worthily for ages, then this comes along and we get real action. James Lovelock’s Gaia theories stock just went up a notch.
- The boundaries of AI becomes clear. The data on which most practical applications rely is historic. It didn’t see this coming, and I suspect if we asked it what to do, we wouldn’t like the answer much.
- The exposure of the takers in the economy. The sheer amount of wealth they have gathered will shield them, but their credibility is severely dented, and their future authority in question. Logs on the ground look much like each other.
It’s easy to say that in retrospect that this was coming was obvious. Like all Black Swans, it may be true, but we didn’t act as though we did, and that’s what matters.
Equally, it’s instructive to notice the number of pundits who say they saw it coming. It may be true, but if they couldn’t make their voice heard, it’s of no moment today.
We will continue to work at understanding what is going on whilst the Givers do their utmost to mitigate the effects on us and the takers pick from the debris, but we have no idea of what next year will look like.
So, what do we do?
I’m writing my thoughts on this at www.originize.net in the full knowledge that none of us know what to do until we get to a point where things begin to settle (if they do) and right now, I think it comes down to one main action:
Generous self reliance.
Our institutions, public and private, are struggling to keep up with the pace of change. It doesn’t make them bad, just arthritic.
Those making a difference are individuals, from the doctors following their calling despite self evident risk, to the companies moving production to ventilators for no profit, to the local groups organising supplies to the vulnerable, to those continuing to empty bins and stack shelves for around the living wage.
Whether we’re comfortable with it or not, for the next little while, we are reliant on them and their goodwill. We should be truly grateful.
I suspect that in the vast majority of cases, the people leading these efforts have made their own decision. They are clear minded about what is important to them, and acted in line with that.
They are reliant on themselves first, and use that to give.
It is those I want to associate with as we go forward.