The other day I was on Instagram and I decided to run a poll asking if Social Distancing was the New Normal. Almost 80% of poll participants said YES! I think on some deeper level, we understand that even when our Shelter-In-Place Mandate is lifted and we are able to gather again in large groups, or flood the parks with fresh hiking routes, the world as we were experiencing it prior to 2020, is gone.
Something else is opening up in front of us. As humanity we're experiencing survival fear. Even if your ego says you'll be safe in your home washing your hands, your global primal nature knows that you have no control over the course and experience of the Coronavirus. Because of this, you, in your own way, have to reconcile your beliefs:
+ Why are you important?
+ Why should you (personally) survive?
+ How can you maintain the networks of safety and love that you've leaned into for so long?
Even as you are struggling to understand the meaning of life, you're also by necessity creating new social and survival processes that the world hasn't seen before.
I remember being young and watching movies about the amazing technology of the future--dreaming that we might one day have phones without wires, or that we could talk to each other face to face from little gadgets our wrists! I thought these dreams were fantastical and assumed that if I ever lived to see them, I would be an older woman in my 80s or 90s. The possibility of cell phones, instant information at your fingertips, and advanced computer automated services (like ordering takeout, self-driving cars, or even digital streaming music!) weren't even glimmers on the horizon. Our home tv was the width and depth of my refrigerator. Our home radio was a fancy one, the primary entertainment unit of the house! It was four feet tall and larger than my bathtub in length and width.
Technology has advanced over the years, and with it, our means of interacting has shifted. When you have wikipedia, you no longer spend a whole afternoon with your best friend flipping through the entire World Britannica Book Series looking through every index to find your keywords for a paper. Texting replaces carefully worded phone calls, and simple polite rules we grew up with suddenly no longer apply, because the technology of our connections is shifting so rapidly.
This year the whole world was put on pause by a virus, and in many ways, it means our technology will again take a huge leap--this time out of necessity as we are isolated in our homes and reviewing our lives.
How do you want to hold our culture as that happens?
I ask because I realized today that culture can't be woven by a few Instagram Socialites or the government. It's up to each of us to craft it. My young child doesn't know how to write a polite email, doesn't understand why one might sign a message, doesn't comprehend the subtleties of emotion as they translate through technology, and isn't learning through online school all of the wise mini-lessons we gain just from interacting with dozens of people and being forced to spend time with them. He doesn't understand why the rampant hyper-stimulation of most social media networks could actually be damaging to his sense of reality--and he's not alone.
When I wa