"Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die" Buddha 490BC
Our business has exceeded last year’s productivity by 20%. This is during two lockdowns and a year of a global pandemic which has transformed my colleagues’ lives forever.
We have spent an hour a week looking at ways to get back to office work, looking at air conditioning, fresh air, social distancing in the office, air purifiers and hourly toilet cleaning.
We have had a one-hour fortnightly meeting of managers to check that remote work flow adjustments are working.
We have spent 20 times this worrying about staff wellbeing, ensuring working from home is comfortable, adapting our business, checking if they have any financial or other worries, giving them access to a 24-hour anonymous help line, .
We have spent zero hours worrying about productivity. Our productivity is up by 20%.
Governments around the world are obsessing about rates of contagion and following rules. They pay lip service to mental health, but they seem oblivious to what is staring them in the face.
The real catastrophe of COVID-19 is, in my view, unresolved anger.
During the last three global catastrophes, WW1 and WW2 and the 2008 financial crisis, in each case there were figures, individuals, despots to despise, to rail against, to unite against. The Kaiser, Mussolini, Hitler and the gang, and then financial fat cats.
They were murderers, they were trying to overrun us, they were killing millions of innocent people. They were like a virus… and they were brought down.
With COVID it doesn’t work, does it? You can’t get that uptight about a little germ. Sure, if you are barking or a religious zealot, you can decide that Bill Gates wants to put microchips under the skin, or that masking is somehow a bad thing, but you need to be pretty gullible and be experiencing the fallout from persistent immaturity to believe that.
We have no Hitler. We have no Mussolini. The fat cats have gone to ground. Bill is not trying to take over the World State.
But still our family and friends are dying. Our jobs are gone. Our money is gone. Our future and our children’s future is bleak. We can have a go at Boris and co, take a pot shot or two at Trump, or even try to blame the Chinese – but in our hearts we know that’s not the issue.
We are in a massive limbo of unresolved and unrequited hate.
This is coming out in a hundred thousand ways, in every corner of the planet. The polarisation of invective and violence surrounding Black Lives Matter. The absolute fury that fuelled the tearing down of statues that have stood for 200 years and the shrieking of horror and rage that this should happen. Militating against the police following the death of a woman and militating against the women who militated. The storming of The Capitol building and the killing of those inside. Petrol bombing in Northern Ireland. Protests and mass murder in Myanmar and in Russia and Brazil. Civil disobedience in Hong Kong. Rekindling of the Brixton uprising of 1981. The rejection of 40 years’ of progress on integration in the UK. My own stubborn castigating of the Health Secretary for not prioritising disabled people like me for vaccination. The reproach railed against Macron, Merkel, Johnson, Trump – heck every leader in the world – for their handling of either the lockdown measures, the PPE rollout or the vaccination programme.
The fury of sports people over repellent tweets and the corrosive bile of those who tweet. The global row over vaccine passports. The wholesale illogical rejection of the AZ vaccine over a dozen blood clots, delaying rollout and causing thousands of extra deaths.
The visceral desire to cut out the hearts of the 50 young men and women having a party on Clapham common in defiance of the ‘guidelines’ .
The incredible annoyance by me and others over the use of words like blind, crippled, mad, to denote inferiority. The rage over ‘woke’ by Laurence Fox, JK Rowling and others, and the utter fury online against both of these people. They should never work again. They need to be utterly destroyed. The total unbridled, undoubtedly bigoted, rejection of Harry’s wife and the massive row between pompous Piers and oh-so-PC breakfast telly.
A wholesale abandonment of perspective.
The reason our company is working so, so hard on keeping people as happy as possible is that this is easily, by 100-fold, the most vital thing in the world. Is it only me who sees that the real catastrophe on the horizon is not how many people die of COVID-19, it is the fallout from the febrile, utterly irrational and over the top global anger at absolutely everybody and everything? That is the brink from which, somehow, we have to pull back. It won’t be easy and it won’t be fast.
We have all drunk the poison. Where will the antidote come from? Not from AZ or Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson, that’s for sure.
in 1932, Aldous Huxley prescribed mood-altering pills – Soma – to subdue ‘the masses’. In Huxley’s novel, soma is meant to block out emotions resulting from stressful situations such as pain, grief, and anger. Young Aldous was blind, of course, and we who see little observe much…
I won’t suggest we put sedatives in the drinking water or hold down people and force feed them with Valium… – but somehow, at some point, we will all need to find and trigger our inner Soma and calm down.