Illustration: Jete Dobarnja for PI.

The sludge puddle rainbow

Exploring the relationship between the pandemic, evolution, digital authoritarianism and privilege.

The future is safe. No one and nothing will harm it. It seems reserved for the privileged few who will know how to play the new game by the new rules. The future is far, far away, in a distant time which is impossible to be envisioned neither as temporality nor as distance. 

The present seems eternal. We’re participating in a trauma. It’s good to be aware. Maybe we’re stuck in the situation we are in for as long as the new world order doesn’t declare its agenda. A new constitution. A new autocracy. One that uses prison language to tap into our early impressions of power dynamics: ‘lockdown’, ‘rule-bound’, like not having permission to leave the classroom to go pee. 

This situation advises that the silver lining of the apocalypse reveals itself in our vivid dreams. A consoling drift zone of inner exploration. Time to read the books we were always too busy to read, or at least to undust them. 

We don’t need to know where we stand and adjust to the new normality. For now, we are stuck with non-metaphorical reconstructions of our pasts, processing the enormous amount of anxiety and stress of much greater levels than we could imagine. At least that’s what the therapists suggest. 

Does everything always require an explanation? Closure? Professional etiquette seems enough to validate any knowledge. A name. A profession. “Therapist”. “Science”. 

What a waste of time and resources! The only truth is that which becomes true if you click on it. The more you click, the truer it becomes… Oh, language: the mass control mechanism for self-destruction! 

I dreamt last night that two friends were holding each other closely by the shoulder, content, while returning from an evening tour of the second’s wife of Hassan’s palace. Her name in my constellation was Elisabeth. 

Hassan II, King of Morocco, whose name marks the grandiose mosque by the ocean in Casablanca, died in 1999 – the year I experienced war. I googled this after the dream occured. What is my subconscious trying to tell me? 

Isolation is not a new experience to me. I am equipped to be locked in, in a survival mode limbo, belonging to the at-risk group or, even worse, the target group: the socially despised underdog.

The abyss between those that can move and those that are stuck has expanded in depth. This is not an equal attack, they never are, no matter what biochemical world they come from.

In my dream, I wasn’t able to join my friends on their adventure, because I couldn’t figure out how to wear the shoe on my right foot properly: the toe part was on my heel and the heel on the toes.

I read a quote by David Quammen, one of the contemporary gurus that has been brought to public attention in recent times. No one had really heard of them before the capitalist system was given a slap in the face by an invisible and biologically modified strip of genetic material inside a protein capsule.

“You know, they say when a bullet hits a soldier, you never hear the shot from the one that gets you because the bullet gets there first, and then the sound gets there after. This virus works like that,” he analogizes. 

I imagine the soldier giving away this profound wisdom after he was shot to death, only for it then to be decided that the soldier must be saved, and be severely wounded but vigilant enough to document that feeling – and be philanthropic enough to share it with the rest of us who don’t have the (bad) luck to go through such a transformational experience. What we remain to become content with instead, is a protein capsule. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves, advises neurologist Viktor Frankl, who dubiously survived many war camps. He teaches us to focus on the rainbow in the mud on our way to the gas chamber. He advises us that between stimulus and response, there is a space in which the choice to be free lies. 

My question to him would be: what defines the capacity to be capable of choosing? A survival instinct? One that is always shaped by stepping on someone’s head pressed in the dirt so that it can see the rainbow in the slough? This is the theory of the new monks. A lifestyle with no alternatives. Yoga and spirituality seem like great ways to allow totalitarianism to take place without objection. 

I want to dig through the cracked earth below that mud and reveal the severity of our dominant and egotistic race, the evilest of all inventions. I want to show itself its reflection while it eats its own flesh until there is nothing more left to eat, and the planet goes back to peace. 

Alas, our planet is built on the bases of dominance and destruction. The survival of the fittest, said Darwin, and so does the neo-liberal system. When a plant doesn’t have enough nutrition to feed its whole body, it cuts ties to its weakest leaves. This is how decay happens. 

How is this different from a mafioso family killing its own child who has talked too much and revealed the big secret? When a tree dries up, moss takes over. Let’s not even start talking about the animal to animal atrocities…

We are worse than the other beings in the extinguishing cycle of the evolutionary system, which to me doesn’t seem at all passe, especially during the toilet paper and disinfectant hurrah. The anthropocene has the consciousness to refrain itself from its actions, yet it allows the greedy instinct to take over – a creature of habit, a helpless hedonist, a power monger!

The self-extinguisher never lets a good crisis go to waste! It empties out the public sphere, pitches and develops surveillance tools to help governments track citizens with the goal of stopping the spread of the unpredictable, that which brought its bearer to its knees. It is nothing but a digital monkey. That which documents its every move. Who eats data for breakfast, data for lunch, data for self-pleasure? 

The underground revolutionary savior is an illusion of a glorified past. We, on the contrary, are the fatalist heroes of George Orwell.

The opinions expressed in the opinion section are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of BIRN.

Illustration: Jete Dobranja for Prishtina Insight.

13 September 2020 - 10:14

Fjolla Hoxha

13/09/2020 - 10:14

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.