Post-Pandemic Metamorphosis: Never Going Back

People caught on that the returns on the frenzied hamster wheel of "normal" have been diminishing for decades, but everyone was too busy to notice.

The superficial "return to normal" narrative focuses solely on first order effects: now that people can dispense with masks and social distancing, they are resuming their pre-pandemic spending orgy with a vengeance, which augurs great profits for Corporate America and higher tax revenues. Yea for "return to normal."

Sculpture, Art, Breadline, Bronze, Depression, 1930

Image Source: Pixabay

This superficial narrative ignores second-order effects of the pandemic. Recall that first order effects: every action has a consequence. Second order effects: every consequence has its own consequence. We can also think of these as direct (first order) and indirect (second order) effects.

The pandemic's first order effect was to shut down the frenzied hamster wheel of American life. The consequence of the pandemic--shutdown--had its own consequence: people had the opportunity to experience life outside the frenzied hamster wheel, and ask themselves why they tolerated the dead-end purposelessness, demeaning rigidity and life-draining stress of the whole spinning contraption.

For a great many people and dynamics, the pandemic was a transformative catalyst, and there is no going back to pre-pandemic "normal." Many people experienced a liberty and expansiveness they'd either never experienced or forgot that such things even existed. This experience triggered a Metamorphosis, and they're never going back to pre-pandemic "normal" because "normal" was a nightmarish landscape of exploitation, drudgery, pathology and meaningless servitude.

Consider the re-chaining of the digital workforce to the Cubicle Plantation, where "free" (heh) snacks are supposed to compensate for the dreary Underworld of catatonic-inducing meetings and the rest of the plantation's soul-crushing routines.

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Disclosures: None.

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