June 27

Self-responsibility for Covid

5  comments

Summary:

  • Although we’re responsible for our health, in a dangerous time there’s a powerful pressure to hand it to the state.
  • The state can’t take care of us.
  • State control isn’t at an end. It may hardly be at a beginning.
  • The way forward is based on a psychological / spiritual capacity that is outside of this closed-loop control system.

Is any of this true? Let’s look at it!

Who’s the boss?

Who’s responsible for making decisions that govern our health? Traditionally it’s the individual, little old us.  Who else could make the critical decisions that determine our physical and psychological well-being and future?  

The answer would seem obvious on the surface but it’s not nearly so simple. The political and medical authorities, first for a couple of weeks and now indefinitely want to take care of it for us.

This is dangerous from a psychological point of view. If we’re not responsible for our life and health, then we’re expecting someone else to do that for us. Psychologically we’re in the child’s position. The child is still hoping, hoping against hope, that the parents will take care of her even as she drifts into adulthood and even elderhood.

This didn’t come out of the blue.

Over the last several generations we in the west have been encouraged to avoid this self-responsibility in many areas, none more than health. Jesuit social commentator Ivan Illich was one of the first to point to it in the early 70s in his book Medical Nemesis. He praised the amazing advances in medicine in the early 20th century but claimed that medicine would in the future cost more lives than it would save. Around the time of the writing he revised this to say his future prediction had already happened.  

The problem he saw was that the view of health as an individual responsibility was being supplanted by medical statistics and mass data. The body and it’s care was given over to experts under the guise of risk estimates and statistics.

Many other factors (post-modernism, neo-Marxism, rising identity politics among them) have contributed to “the long slow march through the institutions” and a world in which individual responsibility has taken second place to group power. One example was a growing trust in insurance companies who more and more were trusted with determining what was “safe” and what wasn’t. Preoccupation with safety rather than risk or challenge or self-responsibility became a widespread social norm: If the insurance company mightn’t insure the school bus on a given snowy day, the bus didn’t run.We live in a culture based on prioritizing safety and comfort rather than meeting risk and challenge.

But it’s worse than that!

Sure this psychological immaturity is unhealthy in itself. But it’s downright dangerous if the nanny state, the “parents,” have become tyrannical. And this is where I think we are now.

The sentence below from a video from distinguished professor and psychotherapist Franz Rupert rang true for me very early in the Covid scare.

The orthodox medical system, with all its ramifications – ministries, offices, universities, doctors, medical industry, all of that – is like a traumatized mother who imposes her trauma survival strategies, her false and unilateral ideas about disease and health onto her children, and makes them the objects of her survival strategies.”

He’s claiming that the medical establishment and by extension the state is out of control and has lost its way when it comes to Covid. Not only does the medical system claim for itself the health responsibility that belongs to the citizen, it blatantly censors competing views and punishes dissent. Ruppert’s video and countless others have been censored. All of us who don’t comply with the prevailing narrative risk exclusion and non-belonging. We risk being next.

The citizenry however has been well-conditioned to not see this, to accept increasing control and not push back. It’s understandable. If Joe Citizen has lived as an adult psychologically dependent on mother or parents, both in his own life and with respect to the state, he won’t want to risk losing that imaginary protection. Going along with creeping or galloping social control will feel safer to him than speaking up or pushing back – even if it’s not. At least it pushes the problem down the road.

So that’s the bad news. But there’s another side to it too- there always is – and that other side IS up to us. Counterintuiive and hidden, it has to do with reclaiming our own voice, our willingness and capacity to speak up for ourselves and each other.

It’s that taking back responsibility. It’s not easy but it’s the best game in town. I’ll speak to it soon!

In the meantime, I’d love to know what you’re seeing with any of this? Is social control this bad or better or worse? What are you seeing and sensing about Covid, or the lockdowns and the way forward? Please take a moment to leave a comment and share what’s alive for you.

It helps me when you share this post with friends who might like it.

All the best, Andrew


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  1. Thanks for expressing this, Andrew. What you write makes sense to me. I think it all comes down to collective, world community empowerment, where us ordinary folk lead in holding up our personal responsibilities—as you do here.

  2. Hi Andrew, I'm responding to 10 parts of your well-written article.

    1) I have 100% responsibility to take care of my own health and, in my view, responsibility for the health of my family, friends, colleagues, community, country, and the world I inhabit.

    That’s why I’ve taken the Covid-19 vaccine, wear a mask, keep my distance and check in to each place I visit if I need to be traced.

    As you know, Andrew, I’m independent, paddle my own canoe and take 100% responsibility for what I think, say, and do. But, equally, I think, say and do, what I think is not only in my best interests but in the interests of the common good.

    2) We are, as stated, 100% responsible for our health, and in my reality, we are also responsible for the health of the community we live in. Without that philosophy being widespread, we wouldn’t have the health care systems that cater for both the haves and the have nots.

    3) Andrew, I don’t have the time to respond to each of the assertions you have made in your article other than to say that each claim you make needs more meat on each bone to understand exactly what you mean. If you're saying that our Governments are taking or have already taken us over and got us by the throat then, that’s not my experience.

    4) I don’t inhabit the world you do. I see people on the left doing the best that they can with some successes and some mistakes. And those on the right mirroring the same level of success and mistakes. And until we take what works and what matters from both sides of the political divide within a context of kindness, understanding, wisdom, and common sense.

    5) Andrew, the bottom line for me is this. Suppose we feel excluded and feel that we don’t belong. That also is our 100% responsibility. Each of us lives in a personal reality in relationship to others that we also create 100%.

    6) It’s always up to us, Andrew – no more – no less than it’s ever been. Society moves in one direction and then in another as the thinking of its citizenry shifts.

    7) It’s easy to take personal responsibility if we see what personal responsibility is or difficult if we don’t.

    8) We either understand personal responsibility or we don’t.

    9) We either understand that we think into existence our reality – a reality in which we are awake and therefore take 100% responsibility – or one where we don’t realize that we are making it all up and believe that what we are thinking is ‘the truth of the matter.

    10) Well, you asked for feedback, Andrew.

    Love … Woody

  3. Thanks John and thanks Woody.

    Around that all-important question of personal responsibility we both point to.

    I believe we're responsible for our response to what happens in our world but not for the events that show up. If there's an earthquake or a wildfire where we live we're not responsible for it . But how we deal with it is up to us.
    As I look at the world right now, I see it is that large global forces are deeply affecting the population. They're akin to an earthquake. They're similar to the rise of tyranny in Hitler's Germany or the communist revolutions in China or Russia.

    I think that the evidence points to this right now in its incipient to middle stages. I think we're being set up for totalitarian control. Mass censorship and removal of permission to speak alternative views, among specialists and non-professionals alike are the telltale signs.

    We'll see how it unfolds.

  4. I encourage anyone interested in this debate to take the time to read The Gulag Archipelago, the autobiography of Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (abridged version). He includes personal testimony, as well as first-hand accounts from hundreds of prisoners – to the camps, prisons, transit centres, and secret police in Stalin's Soviet Union (book cover). Solzhenitsyn served in the Red Army in the Second World War and was awarded 'distinguished service'. Later, he was imprisoned from 1945 to 1953 for making unfavourable remarks about Josef Stalin (inside cover). In his personal Foreword he writes: "If it were possible for any nation to fathom another people's bitter experience through a book, how much easier its future fate would become and how many calamities and mistakes it could avoid. But it is very difficult. There is always this fallacious belief: 'It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.' …..Yet I have not given up hope that human beings and nations may be able, in spite of it all, to learn from the experience of other people without having to live through it personally". If you read the book, you won't soon forget it.

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