Corona or Panic ?

Wondering which is causing the most harm…

I’m trying to keep my head straight and maintain my much- cherished and protected objectivity within this turbulence of contradictory opinions, emergency policy-making, swinging emotions and social distances. Over the last 2 weeks I have been sneezing occasionally, had a day or 2 where my head overloaded and couldn’t produce anything properly, but for the rest I was feeling not worse than before. I needed to make sure that I got the emotional affection I seem to be lacking most of the time and establish some permanent online links with people that can’t be close now. My business went to zero and thus started to read like a madman on my new passion: international policies and relations, which is both stunningly interesting and quite eye-opening at the same time. I choked and spilled some of my tea onto my clothes more than once recently.

But I’m drifting, let’s come back to the severe and very contagious flu epidemic, which might progress into pneumonia. Thinking back, I had about 6 flus ever before in my life and they lasted for about a week, losing more or less 5kg, but didn’t weigh it out each time. I was always told there was no medicine to it, which is such a bad news, and had to sit (or rather lay) it out in sweat, shivers and tears. That’s what I did each time (I’m very disciplined in that respect), and I believe at least 3 out of 6 times, I had an episode where I thought I would be dying. But nobody really knew back then, how close I actually was. Not me, neither my family of whom I thought were quite severely underestimating the matter. But somehow I survived and never really looked back at any of them. As if they never happened… Did the world change, because I had been having the flu? Nah.

While some of us, still might be struggling here and now with the consequences of locking down, others are gradually trying to assess what would come after our shared hysteria. After all, sharing this emotion is not as fun as sharing a sense of universal unity with all beings and species surrounding us, like all yogi among us do, so we want to forget it as soon as we can. Some would like to return to business-as-usual with the beloved deadlines, targets and unbalanced work-life routines. Oh, how good the times were 2 months ago… Others think many things will change. I do too. In my opinion, there will be 2 prevailing streams of thought, and thus behaviours, and thus people: in the left-hand corner we have the ‘defender of freedom’ opposing its big enemy and reigning world-champion, for as long as we know, on the right-hand side: the ‘persuader of control’.

Yes, I believe in boxing matches, whether they are fixed or not. I doubt fairplay will prevail throughout, many lefts and rights ending up below the belt. Anyway, as in most boxing matches I witnessed, both parties will end up being bruised. One a bit less than the other, enabling him to raise an oversized, colourful belt, laid in with gold, a type of accessory I would never dare to wear in public and that the winner himself will only show off in his or her own bedroom in front of the mirror afterwards.

This reminds me of a period some 2 years ago, where I was studying the patterns of ‘winners’, successful ones, those who receive praise and public recognition and make a lot of money. I’m sure you have seen one on television, or Facebook lately. One of my case studies, although I couldn’t find time to turn it into a scientific, peer-proofed paper, was Mohammed Ali, who is probably the subconscious reason why I even mentioned boxing before. A key characteristic that he projected, and shared with all these other leaders, was a pre-determined conviction of win, of being the best in whatever they did. When you face someone like that in a ring, imagine the poor, crushed victims of ‘The People’s Champion’: you’re almost lost in advance. Have you ever seen Ali scared? Won’t you think Ali worked a lot for not showing fear to his opponent, or the world? And why would that be? Because a whimsy, but uncertain, scared Ali, entering the dome and ring with shaky knees, would get his butt kicked way more than history has recorded.

But let’s wind down a bit, loosen up. Added tension is not good for hearts and lungs these days. I will install myself on my terrace in the sun, put a cactus on the table, sip of my blue still water (too hot for tea now) and conclude with sharing only one word of advice with you in this turmoil, coming from the bottom of my heart:


Ken Christiaens

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