I'm writing this on May 27, 2023, three years since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three years is a long time. It's a long time to live in a state of paranoia, to see reality as a vast thing that can suddenly, without warning, be weaponized against you.
Now it feels like a completely new reality. My old life is nearly all gone—friends, relationships, mentors, reference points. I live halfway across the country from where I was when COVID began. In many ways, I'm much happier, vastly more productive. My podcast comes out every week on the dime. My technical skillset has improved markedly, though the same can likely not be said for my social skillset, as many people likely feel as well.
I believe we are still too close to the pandemic to truly appreciate the trauma, the madness, the conflicting dictates, the groupthink, the violence. We're frankly still too close to 9/11 to understand it. Perhaps this will all be for future generations to piece together.
In magick, we are regularly asked to step through portals—from one life to another, across one abyss to yet another. This is ultimately invigorating. It allows the brain to develop all-new pathways, which hopefully makes up for the neuronal damage from trauma, from the old pathways going out.
Where is everyone? This new world seems not like the calm after the storm, not like the freshly washed streets after the rain, but like a perpetual held breath, a state of suspension as the world continually struggles to mitigate the damage done in 2020-21, to the global economy not to mention global mindshare. The public seems awash in mental illness, the beast just under the surface.
A year ago I would have predicted that the ongoing trend of the 2020s would be increased virtualization, into Zuckerberg's Metaverse. That never manifested, a fever dream just like NFTs. Now I'm not so sure. Nobody wants to be on their computers. Nobody wants to be on Zoom, or god forbid a headset. (Instead of virtualization, I've been urging all of my adult friends to get back into IRL tabletop role playing games, and not on Zoom. Try it before you scoff—I'm in perpetual amazement how much medicine this old hobby holds for our present alienated social condition.)
Instead, we've been deposited into the AI age. It seems likely to me that the changes from this will surpass anything from COVID (duh), which I mused on in this Twitter thread. Though I'm certainly first in line for AI augmentation.
So where are we now? Maybe in a rare lull, a time of tension but no breakage. For now, that's good enough for me. If there's one thing I took away from COVID, it's to count my blessings.