Many of these changes created by the Covid-19 pandemic are erasing our identity as human beings. We cannot send our children to school. We cannot send our preschool children to socializing nursery school. We cannot enjoy the benefits of the arts, including music and museums. The question is, what distinguishes us from primates from which we emerged?
This is not far-fetched. When our state governors have thoughtlessly closed down businesses with no plan of reopening, they erase much of what distinguishes a human being from the animals. From the point of view of appearance, how long can we all go without a haircut? We are all going to be very messy look in short order, except of course those that surreptitiously have a “home visit” from a barber or hairstylist.
Much of what has made human society distinct from the animal kingdom comes from the socializing and collective experience of enjoying music and visual art. We don’t know why painting started, but it started on the walls of the caves. Doubtless cave people got together to admire those paintings. More recently, artists have created great works of art, by Michelangelo, Picasso, and others.
Live performance music is another collectively civilizing experience. From festivals such as Woodstock to the folk coffeehouses, in other venues, music is designed to be enjoyed in groups. The presence of applause or lack of applause shape what musicians do.
Religion is another such shaper of socialization. I cannot imagine the cheerlessness of a world without weddings, Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, confirmations, Christmas Mass, the Hajj in Mecca, and other such events. In short, humans are gregarious species. We need people.
All of this is potentially lost in the mad dash towards “social distancing.” What is most alarming is it the same people who have fought hardest for social distancing fight hard against cures or ameliorative treatment They insist on lengthy testing intervals that will make the proposed treatment irrelevant.
All such people are not created equal when it comes to distancing. Does one seriously think that Bill and Melinda Gates are doing their own house cleaning in there probably large house in Kirkland, Washington? Or are they using paid labor? Would Governor Gretchen Witham (sp) of Michigan approve?
Similarly, they can afford to have you musicians and comedians come to entertain them. There is a tradition for this; the royal house of Esterhazy in Vienna had Haydn as an in house composer for much of his life, and accompanying musicians. Do we want people only with the wealth of the House of Esterhazy to be able to afford to be entertained?
I am certainly not advocating a chaotic reopening however, we must have a time frame within which religious institutions, schools come a preschool, concert halls and alike will reopen. I watched the press conference yesterday with six Northeastern governors. All I heard was a vague plan to make a vague plan. Society and the world must open for the non-wealth.