Giving Thanks for the Zeitgeist

Posted In: Culture, ,   From Issue 905   By: Jason Dean

19th November, 2020     0

I always thought that if the world was ever going to come together and unite to combat a common enemy, it would come from outer space. Like so many Twilight Zone episodes, a sentient being from another world would descend upon us to remind us of our common bonds in spite of our differences.

As I write this, local businesses are making difficult decisions about when to close and how to prepare for the weeks ahead. The number of cases and deaths continues to climb as the impact of COVID has a more direct impact in communities all over the country. Red county, blue county, neighborhood to neighborhood, the localization of COVID is a reality that cannot be denied. 

Americans have been advised to not gather for Thanksgiving. In addition, many facilities that open their doors during the holidays are relegated to handing out food boxes to lines of cars, an assembly-line ritual that offers only a fleeting human connection.

Never did I think that the enemy would turn out to be microscopic, unseen, and undetectable, but I figured as long as the scientists could do their job everything would be fine. 

But this virus attacks more than human physiology: Current conditions have allowed it to infect human nature as well. We want things to be handled in a cycle, with a beginning, a middle, and an end that falls within a fiscal year. Anything beyond that has been unfathomable. Until now. 

In summer 2020, as the first wave of the pandemic ran its course, the American mantra became “the cure cannot be worse than the disease.” As an American, choosing between making a living and actually living was always an abstract concept. Until now

Sure, there were dangerous jobs, but those were trained professions that people chose for various reasons. Personally, I have found myself in the position of gamely accepting any musical gig that is available just to have some income. Luckily, outdoor opportunities blossomed in the summer, and the fall weather has been very forgiving. 

Having been diagnosed with asthma in my teens, I am aware of what it feels like to experience back or rib pain from labored breathing. While I don’t have chronic issues, hearing accounts of previously healthy people succumbing to this disease is sobering. 

So, do I mask up whenever I’m in public? Sure. Do I keep the mask on when I’m performing? No, I don’t (even though Dawes proved it could be done when they filmed a band performance en mask earlier this year). 

So am I merely a liberal hypocrite whose principles are only as thick as his wallet? I hope not. Like everyone, I’m just trying to move forward in a world that is tired, confused, and ready to come together. 

If it can’t be for Thanksgiving, that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving won’t happen this year. It will just look different than any other year. We all can find something to be thankful for. That is the beauty of life. While they say that you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone, it can also be said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. 

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for zeitgeist. Human history has placed us here in this moment of challenge as a collective evolutionary flashpoint. In the midst of the chaos, be thankful. And remember, now that the worst is over, the best is yet to come.



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