What Time Is It in Lockdown?

Here where I dwell in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has just occurred. The darkest day of the year in a dark year. A few days ago was also the Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which is interesting to those who like the musical Hair and believe their fates lie in the stars and not in themselves. Shakespeare’s Cassius had it right: such astrological determinism is for underlings.

Free people agree with Beethoven:

I will take fate by the throat; it will never bend me completely to its will.

Oppressors have always wanted people to believe their lives are fated, that they live in a prison and there is no escape. It is the key to successful slavery. Many institutionalized religions have promoted such a belief, contradicting their founders’ messages of freedom. So have secular ideologies. There is nothing you can do, so rollover with Beethoven; it’s hopeless. “Do what you’re told,” as the great wise leader Anthony Fauci has said.

But a much wiser Kris Kristofferson sang:

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

Didn’t Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor say to Jesus in his cell in the gloomy vaulted prison:

We will show them that they are weak, that they are only pitiful children, but that childlike happiness is the sweetest of all. They will become timid and look to us and huddle close to us in fear, as chicks to the hen. They will marvel at us and will be awe-stricken before us, and will be proud at us being so powerful and clever, that we have been able to subdue such a turbulent flock of thousands of millions.

They will do as they are told and reject the freedom Jesus brought, “for nothing has been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom,” drones the Inquisitor. They will do as they are told. And the prisoner was silent.

As the year comes to an end and another begins, the contemplation of time and its passing occupy many minds as governments across the world continue to impose lockdowns on their people that are creating suffering on a vast, unimaginable scale. Opening up, then going back into lockdown again is toying with people’s anxiety, causing them a great deal of stress, which may, in turn, be leading to a rise in demand for potential anxiety reducers such as CBD gummies, camomile tea, and lavender essential oils. These products may be becoming slowly essential for anyone who is feeling stressed about the pandemic and the effects it has had on individuals’ lives. Particularly, it can be scary going out again after a pandemic as devastating as this one, but also the idea of being imprisoned, sometimes alone and away from one’s family, is too much to cope with as well. In many of these instances, many turn to coping mechanisms like CBD products from VibesCBD to get them through because it relaxes them and calms their minds as well. For many, it has been a really difficult time.

“Every ruling minority,” wrote the late great John Berger, “needs to numb and, if possible, to kill the time-sense of those whom it exploits. This is the authoritarian secret of all methods of imprisonment.”

There is time for you and time for me is the mantra of all authoritarians. We set the clocks to slow or fast. You follow. Alternating rhythm to keep you guessing. When things are kind of slow, we’ll give you 5G speed as we reset your future to the online life. Everything will be so fast that you won’t know whether you are coming or going or just running in place.

Slow is for prisoners around the world. Here in the United States, the world leader in incarceration, there are more than 2 million people caged in such hell holes. Doing time. Very slow time.

For those on the outside, a year ago, permanent busyness and speed were the norms. Everyone was so frantic and rushing in the madding crowd of a consumer and cell phone frenzy, driven by an unseen nanosecond digital dictator. Now the lockdown has brought a taste of boredom, slow time, and anxiety. There’s not much left to do, you might only be left with playing Free Solitaire Online or other nostalgic games like snakes and ladders and Super Mario. There might be many ways that people can beat the boredom caused by the lockdown, and this could be one example of that. Similarly, others might be waiting for new scary movies coming out in 2022 or later in the coming years when you can watch a movie at the cinema or eat at a restaurant again as before. An expectation hangs in the air, waiting for the day when the authoritarians will give the word that the new normal has arrived and the children can fling the doors open and run out to play. But they will have to learn the new rules of the game. Same game, but Built Back Better. Better for the bosses.

Forget that criminal born in a manger. Getting there is a long and hard journey. We are in lockdown. Just do as you are told.

Or imagine that child as a grown man in a prison cell in Seville 15 centuries later.

Or in Bethlehem today, in the West Bank as Palestinian territory is inexorably disappeared by the Israeli government, and Palestinians’ places to dwell on this earth grow smaller and smaller as their houses are bulldozed and land stolen.

Imagine the fates of all those locked down shut-in abandoned ones, those who are doing time to the slow ticking of the clocks. Or those who have no time to escape the supersonic hum of drone-launched missiles. Those whose time is up because the authorities deem it so. Those who just won’t do what they are told.

In lockdown, there is plenty of time to imagine.

Thomas Merton, the inspirational anti-war Trappist monk, in “The Time of the End Is the Time of No Room” in Raids on the Unspeakable, said this about that child in a manger, soon to be radical anti-war criminal executed by the state:

Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place in it, and yet he must be in it, his place is with those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst.

Their numbers are growing by the day.

Pundits are fond of saying that time is all we have. This is untrue. We don’t have time; time has us. We are born into it and in a techno-clock world those clocks start ticking and we turn with the seasons until our turning stops and our time is up. It comes with being born, being mortal. Human. We don’t need astrology to tell us this. We don’t want authoritarians controlling our experience of this greatest of mysteries.

If you listen closely, you can hear waves of empty words tumbling through the world, whistling windy words saying nothing. Whining words, nodding heads, vacuous sayings. Media saturated fatuous words. About “time” more clichés have been coined and more quotable quotes recorded than nearly any other word. Quotes about what no one knows.

Time stands still, time flies, time is up, time is on your side, time is short, time is long, who knows where the time goes, time out, time starts, stop the clocks, start the clocks, we’re running out of time, clock in, clock out, time served, serving time, lacking time, losing time, having time, gaining time, the end of time.

Yet everyone knows what time is even though they can’t tell you. It comes with the territory of existing. Like silence, like love, like peace, like truth – simple gifts that authoritarians invert to suit their evil designs. Twisted people twisting words.

And yet:

It is no different now.
The yearning still gnaws.
The night dark, utterly silent,
Sky stretched endlessly back
Into an infinity beyond reach.
And the fears, the tears
Are they any different?

It is no different now.
Joy sometimes, hope too, divisions
Seemingly unbridgeable, vast chasms
Opening between those closest.
Little changes, though two thousand years
Dissolve into oblivion behind us.

It is no different now.
Plus ça change,
Plus c’est la même chose.
Always the same.

Yet a word is heard dimly
Laboring out of the deafening black
Silence, almost but not inaudible.
And the angel says, “Go out,”
And the angel said, “Go out,”
Always the angel, always the voice
Bearing us up along the way
(If you do not turn to the inner light,
Where will you turn?), always calling:
“Journey far through strange country,
Follow the light you barely see
But which is the light of your life.
Follow it across the desert of your heart
Where wild beasts seek to devour you.
There is no time, there is no time
To hesitate. Now is the star’s hour,
Now you are called on a fool’s journey
Into a pig’s pen and a child’s strange
And glorious presence.” Thus speaks the angel
Again and again, no matter how dark
The darkest day, nothing changes.

It is no different now.
Now as always is the star’s hour.
Now as then a star is born to men
To lead us on. A light that darkness
Cannot overcome, despite us.

Love is not a sometimes thing,
Though we abuse it like the earth.
It is all we have to hold us up,
And it always will.

A star is always born.

18 thoughts on “What Time Is It in Lockdown?”

  1. I want to share the poem imbedded in this excellent article with my poetry group. How about adding a title like, perhaps “It Is No Different Now.”

    1. Hi Carol, The title is “A Star is Always Born” when I wrote it as an independent poem. Thanks a lot. Pax, Ed

  2. I am Human and refuse to be anything else but. They can think they have made us into to slaves and prisoners. But, I still say I am Human. Each source of life is filled with light and energy. They have us social/physical distancing 6ft apart for a reason. They are trying to separate our energy of what makes us all Human. Love, caring, helping each other, understanding, and compassion for one another. These feelings are signs of strength and diversity. When I hug someone I can feel the essence of that person, their physical and mental energy. Because when we hug a family member or a close friend we are expressing in that moment unconditional love. The one born under the star was pure light and yet when they thought they where suppressing him, they failed. He said, “Forgive them, they do not know what they do.” They didn’t know that they where fulfilling a debt paid in full for humanity’s freedom from sin.
    I am Human, vulnerable and yet filled with the many strengths they cannot take away from me.

  3. And now oligarchy embarks upon yet another “great reset” of humanity – based as usual upon spreading terror and the treat of death. For 500 years the Holy Inquisition used terror tactics to rid European peasants of the last vestiges of their pagan tribal roots, connected as those roots were to some basic form of human solidarity and still in a deep connection to the natural world. For 500 years oligarchy engaged in a sort of ‘controlled demolition’ of our humanity, and so, along with the ‘heretics’ who dared question ‘the official story’ – the herbalists, and healers and mid-wives had to be burned – the ‘witches’ – all dispatched in public spectacle so that the male ‘experts’ of the day (popes and kings, cardinals and princes) could rule unimpeded creating their brand new version of – “reality” – out of thin air. Extinguishing what it meant to be “human” and replacing it with “obedience.” And now again we collectively stand poised on the verge of yet another oligarchic ‘great reset’ of humanity. Time slows and almost suspends as we wait to learn what creative new digital versions and forms of the auto de fe will be used to extinguish what might be left of our humanity – all in service to the dreams of oligarchic madmen bent upon fantasies of omnipotence, control and greed. There will be no need for terror stories about an all seeing, all knowing god, who is always aware of the sedition in one’s heart, when in ‘the internet of things’ one’s own toaster or coffee maker might rat one out to the authorities – sending one to the digital stockade, if not worse. What could possibly happen in our oligarchic endorsed, newly unfolding, 5G, covid enhanced, vaccine mandated, ‘global-reset’ oligarchic paradise – that we haven’t all seen before?

    1. Very succinct commentary Gary! My advice to anyone that doesn’t like it is to not go along with it. If they forbid you to fly in a plane unless you mask and vax up, don’t fly. If they excommunicate you (forbid you attendance in church) unless you bend over and pull your pants down, don’t go to church. If they forbid you to shake their hands, I assure you that you don’t even want to. It is not a matter of becoming like them or making them become like you.

      1. Yes Tom, I agree with you. Flying? Humans are meant to walk. Going to church? Yeah…, still popular but like flying!

  4. I never thought that anything more was required to obtain blind obedience from those taught to be frightened. Our indoctrination systems were sufficient and this is what is saddest. So why do people shun the small farmer and bow to the college president? Image in place of substance? Oh, our indoctrination systems are more than adequate for acquiring blind obedience. I guess the rulers of the universe are feeling insecure? Their addiction to making money is out of control. Are hobbies helpful? Speaking about blind conformity…what is this wearing of black plastic trash bags dress fashion?

  5. Regarding those “millions of covid deaths”:
    An article in the Nov. 26, 2020 Johns Hopkins NewsLetter looked into the CDC reported deaths in the U.S. for 2020 and found that there has been no excess deaths for the year.
    The supposed increases of “covid” deaths saw similar reductions in deaths from all other causes.
    In other words, causes of death are just being reclassified from one cause to “covid”.

    Interestingly, in 2016 Johns Hopkins published an article highly critical of the CDC’s inabilities to track “causes of death”, stating that the “cause of death” system was designed by the medical industry to maximize medical billing, not identify true causes of death.
    That found that codified system to be highly inaccurate.

    Similarly, I pulled stats from Stastics Sweden, which is the nations official stats agency.
    And like the U.S., there have been no excessive deaths in 2020.
    In fact, as of Nov. 27, 2020, the death rate (population to death ratio) has been below the 10-year average.
    Again, the supposed increases of “covid” deaths saw similar reductions in deaths from all other causes.
    In other words, causes of death are just being reclassified from one cause to “covid”.

    Regarding those Antibody tests for “covid”:
    The disclaimer on those Antibody tests reads
    “Antibody tests have not been shown to definitively diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
    “Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to
    inform infection status.
    Positive results could also be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains.”

    Regarding those RT-PCR tests for “covid”:
    As per manufacturers of these tests, they are not specific for SARS-CoV-2.
    Specificity: non-specific interference of Influenza A Virus (H1N1), Influenza B Virus (Yamagata), Respiratory
    Syncytial Virus (type B),
    Respiratory Adenovirus (type 3, type 7), Parainfluenza Virus (type 2), Mycoplasma Pneumoniae,
    Chlamydia Pneumoniae, etc.

    In other words, like the Antibody tests, they are detecting any strain of coronavirus, even those causing flu and cold symptoms.

    Plus, those RT-PCR tests are identifying proteins (S and N “genes”) that are truly being assumed as the causes of symptoms:
    “The S and N proteins are considered [not proven] to be the most important targets for the humoral and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV”.

    Yet most everything is being assumed & labeled as “covid”.

    This is the kind of info that should worry people about the “covid” narrative.

    1. Thank you for this post. I was aware of some of it, and what you added confirms my suspicions of what really happened in Sweden. I believe the Johns Hopkins study was withdrawn under pressure. Please post any updates.

    2. And why do people deny their very own humanity, deny basic emotions shared by all people everywhere? Is it a perceived sign of sophistication not to be emotional, not to get angry, to express basic feelings such as love, sadness, feeling inferior (when he said that to me)…, we all feel hunger, thirst, cold, heat…, why do we deny our emotions? Because we are told to deny our very humanity! I asked about the human dynamics of the region. They say they are stoic. And so I ask, what does that mean? So there are words to disguise the truth? Stoic instead of paralyzed from fear? Yes…if it isn’t part of the popular script, we seem to be left with silence for he is unaware of his own existence!
      I wonder how many people do not know they can talk through their masks? How many people assume the mask is to keep them much more quiet? It’s all insane ! I spoke to our CDC lackey about changing the term from physical distancing to social distancing. I told him the people of the region did not need more reasons for their anti-social tendencies, both learned and practiced!

  6. Obedience to Authority – in the 21st Century

    The Milgram experiments on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Social Psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960’s.
    The experiments measured the willingness of study participants, men from a diverse range of occupations with varying levels of education, to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience.

    Milgram elaborated two theories:

    • The first is the theory of conformism, based on Solomon Asch conformity experiments, describing the fundamental relationship between the group of reference and the individual person. A subject who has neither ability nor expertise to make decisions, especially in a crisis, will leave decision making to the group and its hierarchy.

    • The second is the agentic state theory, wherein, per Milgram, “the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow”.

    Milgram conceived of his theories and experiments based on the events of the Nazi movement, the events of the Holocaust, and especially the trial of Adolf Eichmann (whom, as per observers like Hannah Arendt, was actually not a fanatic or a sociopath, but instead an extremely average and mundane person who relied merely on clichéd biases rather than thinking for himself, was motivated by professional promotion rather than ideology. Banality, in this sense, does not mean that actions by the likes of Eichmann were in any way ordinary, or even that there is a potential Eichmann in all of us, but that his actions were motivated by a sort of complacency which was wholly unexceptional, and devoid of true intellect, individualism, ethics and morals).

    Milgram’s experiments seemed to show that it wasn’t just “Nazi’s” that were susceptible to this obedience to authority.
    But that those traits exhibited by many of those followers of Nazism were similarly exhibited by many in the general populations.

    Now, heading into the 21st century, I’m noticing some incredibly disturbing trends: the rise of the same sort of unexceptionalism; growing reliance of presumed “authority” figures; blind obedience; increasing complacency; large decreases in true intellect; and other such banal traits and behaviors.

    Divergence and diversity, creativity and eccentricity, individualism and disparity, rather than being accepted and/or celebrated, are increasingly feared, abhorred, even punished.

    Even many people I know personally, whom consider themselves keen & aware to the conditions and effects of that obedience to authority, are largely falling victim to the exact traits, conditions and effects, but most completely unaware of own traits & habits of such.
    And perhaps one of the worst aspects of what I’m observing is that many of those falling victim of this trend of obedience are those in the ranks of the considered “educated” and “learned” classes.

    When the same relatively small group of Aristocratic Elite own much of the wealth, and assets (including business & corporate assets, as the same Cartel now exist as the largest shareholders of the largest “competing” corporations, in most every single industry), even those “educated” and “learned” persons must obey the authority that provides them their salaries.

    1. Very valid observation about being “educated” or “learned”, which since the advent of compulsory formal schooling, is actually just indoctrination.

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