Journaling the Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic,
Reflection #65

May 18, 2020


There is only love. Training, coaching, modeling, and helping people adjust to difficult or dangerous coming circumstances is not tough love. It is not love at all. It’s a formative procedure to gain reactions attuned to those of someone who already knows, who’s been there, who knows what you are going to have to face…and how to do it.

THERE IS NO ‘HOLDING OURSELVES TOGETHER WHILE REMAINING FARTHER APART. That phrase, and the others like it in the same vein, is as oxymoronic as the phrase ‘tough love.’ We are extremely social animals, and our very survival on the planet is wired directly to our getting together physically. Putting distance between humans will definitively change humanity for all time. Doing so for a long period will kill humanity, deader than any disease.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TRUST WITH VERIFICATION. The verification presupposes a lack of trust, unless, somehow, you want to change the definition of the word trust. We labor over coming up with, as a strong part of the social order, expressions that will justify the kind of conduct we feel we must or want to follow…while making it sound like something else entirely. As a credentialed anthropologist, I want to pass on to you the best descriptor of the human condition I ever came up with.

I delivered that descriptor in response to a question from the audience in a speech I gave to a huge crowd in Hawaii back in 2009. “We are all shaven lemurs, come down from the trees above, having knocked the fruit from those trees to the forest floor. We climb down to gather the fruit, fight over it, and lie about what we are doing.” Deception is such a core ‘value’ of all human survival, and the greatest deception of all, practice everywhere and all the time, is out constant and steady deception about that deception. I fully expect, from a large proportion of my audience who read this article, that some will comment about how they do not lie, they do not deceive, they actually experience illness or terrible depression the times that they might have practiced some sort of deception to get something or accomplish something in the past.

These commenters should be revealed as, indeed, probably the best and most effective deceivers on the planet.

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