Don’t worry, it was a low-grade thing, not at all like the debilitating depression many people suffer through. So low-grade, in fact, that I didn’t think of it as more than a bad mood.
I wouldn’t normally discuss such a thing beyond family and friends, but this time it seems a good idea, and if you’ve been reading my writings for any length of time, I’ll take you as a friend. And so I’ll get a bit autobiographical today.
The main thing that depressed me over the past few years was the Covid mania. It was made significantly worse by a wild concentration of painful things happened to me in the same short period, but the Covid mania was the flood that elevated them all.
At one point during this process, I realized I was starting to understand Tertullian, a man whose life and thoughts were were surrounded by persecution, and who had previously seemed a rather distant figure to me. The whole affair, as I felt it, was transportation back to a more barbaric time.
I had previously read pessimistic writers like H.L. Mencken and bristled against the idea that I might get that way as an old man. And while I actually haven’t, the Covid time made me see how easily I could. Even my most optimistic writing of the period, like my book on post-primate society, added to my depressed mood, because it made me understand what was happening that much better.
It’s a bit ironic that the mania depressed me, because, in perspective, it carried a very positive note: To spawn a mania in our time required previously unimaginable levels of invisible censorship (Google and the pre-Musk Twitter), brain addictions (Facebook), sycophantic media that would have made the 1950s blush, and the months-long, world-wide house arrest of literally billions of people. Witch-burnings and inquisitions didn’t require any such infrastructure, but a mania in our time couldn’t have happened without them. In its way, that’s a very positive marker.
Nonetheless it all happened, and I had to watch.
For a poorly tested quasi-vaccine, and one that didn’t even work (pretty much everyone got the disease anyway), armies of people were fired, untold numbers were kicked out of the public square, and families were hatefully split apart. (I know people who’ve been under house arrest for years: if they leave the house, they won’t be allowed back in to see their grandkids.)
And all this as the supposed advocates for free speech and tolerance made a 180 on their positions and gave malice free run over the world. People were proud to go on record, hoping for the deaths of those who disagreed with them… and were cheered for it!
I had never supposed that I’d see such a thing in my life, but I did… and it did depress me.
Also ironically, it was the official end of the hysteria in the US (where “15 days” turned into 1,142 days) that prompted me to write this. As the edicts expired, I wondered how long it would take people to come to grips with what they had done.
While the thing was at its top in 2021, I began thinking of the Japanese Holdouts from World War II, wondering how many Covid Holdouts we’d have, and for how long. Even now, certain aspects of the disease and the vaxx aren’t generally worth speaking about. And I’ll simply pass over all the bizarre and hateful things that were carried along in the mania’s currents.
And so it has been a low time for me. And perhaps for you too. It’s one thing to read about manias in old history books; it’s quite another to live through one: Watching people you know hating others and even wishing for them to suffer.
And yet, here we are. The worst of it is over, and I think my string of personal difficulties is over as well. (Nothing truly tragic was involved, but a cluster of painful and stressful things came my way nonetheless.)
At this point I suppose it’s my job (and perhaps yours as well) to heal back up. And even for Covid bullies, there may be a silver lining to this. G.K. Chesterton used to say that no man was any good until he knew how bad he was capable of being. Perhaps some significant number of people will learn that lesson.
All of us are liable to being swept away by stupidities at some point of our lives. Perhaps those who were vulnerable at this moment will figure things out and get past them.
As for me, I’ll continue my favorite form of therapy: researching, writing, and sifting out the reality of things. I’m presently sketching out an issue of Free-Man’s Perspective on manias. :)
I hope this exercise has been of some use to you; it has to me.
Love to you all.
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