Changing times are calling for more radical approaches to social work. COVID-19 is teaching us that resilient social networks are local. After the pandemic broke out in my community, opportunities for resource sharing and communication opened up. Mutual aid support networks emerged, where neighbors post what they need help with, and what they have to offer. I am seeing brilliance, generosity, and creativity. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) backyard garden projects. Mask making and distribution. Bed and breakfasts converted into shelters. Meals for the unhoused. Most of these organizers are not “social workers,” but perhaps this is an indication of the direction social work should be going.
To step out of the illusion of thinking we exist as a separate self is to recognize—and be born into—our greater identity (whether we call it the Self, Christ, Buddha, etc.), that includes and embraces everything under the sun. The Self—who we actually are—is simultaneously the source and fruit of life itself, enhancing life beyond measure.
In “How Fascism Works,” Professor Stanley addressed “fascist politics”—and repeatedly used that term when describing the Trump-led Republican Party. For those in the USA who recoil at applying such a phrase to today, preferring to call it hyperbole, Stanley’s book sheds clear light on an insidious process that normalizes and obscures: “Normalization of fascist ideology, by definition, would make charges of ‘fascism’ seem like an overreaction, even in societies whose norms are transforming along these worrisome lines. Normalization means precisely that encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal. The charge of fascism will always seem extreme; normalization means that the goalposts for the legitimate use of ‘extreme’ terminology continually move.”
CORONATION UNVEILED: A Critique and Cure for Charles Eisenstein’s Fairy Tale Pandemic Essay, By Jack Adam Weber
“Coronation” is a story you’d tell a child before bed time, not to adults who need to wake up.
If America enters the next wave of coronavirus infections “with the wealthy having gotten somehow wealthier off this pandemic by hedging, by shorting, by doing all the nasty things that they do, and we come out of our rabbit holes and realize, ‘Oh, my God, it’s not just that everyone I love is unemployed or underemployed and can’t make their maintenance or their mortgage payments or their rent payments, but now all of a sudden those jerks that were flying around in private helicopters are now flying on private personal jets and they own an island that they go to and they don’t care whether or not our streets are safe,’ then I think we could have massive political disruption.” “Just as we come out of our holes and see what 25 percent unemployment looks like,” she said, “we may also see what collective rage looks like.”
Recognizing the role of our psyche in all of this isn’t a passive realization, however, but, being a realization that takes place within the psyche itself, simultaneously activates and unlocks the very creative nature of the psyche that we are recognizing. In other words, this realization isn’t abstract, intellectual or theoretical, but rather, is a felt-sense that directly connects us with and helps us access the enormous creative power each of us—knowingly or unknowingly—carries within us. This insight by itself is just the beginning, however, for we are then called to carry and embody our inner realization into the outer world in our own uniquely creative way.
The way our world is manifesting—even before the advent of the coronavirus—seems nightmarish beyond belief; add in the global pandemic and the nightmare takes on an even denser seeming reality than before. When I see the truly dire nature of our situation, any talk about global awakening and the evolution of our species seems like utter pablum, the ravings coming from the fevered imagination of someone who is deeply in denial regarding the depth of evil manifesting in our world. And yet, I also see that something is being revealed to us through the darkness that can—in true quantum style, potentially—change everything.
What is being asked of us now, in the midst of our hardship, is that we open our newly kindled compassion to all living beings, and feel with as much sober honesty as we can muster how they have all been ravaged by the virus of our fevered grasping.
Consciously holding the tension of the opposites within our own awareness without splitting off and identifying with either of the opposites (either optimistic or pessimistic) is an intrinsic super-hero power that we all possess, knowingly or unknowingly. Interestingly, holding the tension of the opposites is experienced as—and symbolized by—a veritable crucifixion of our limited egoic identity. Is this to be genuinely imitating Christ and, as he counseled his followers to do, to be carrying our own cross?
Both Ebola and HIV served as early warning shots across the bow of global civilization. Visible signals that the risk of catastrophic emergence of new infectious illness was on the rise. That our harmful contacts with the natural world were the primary source of this rising risk. And that many, many more human souls may be at stake.