OPINION | Covid-19: Where we are at, where we are going and is there enough toilet paper?

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Empty toilet paper shelves in a supermarket in Brisbane, Australia, on 4 March 2020. (Photo by Florent Rols/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Empty toilet paper shelves in a supermarket in Brisbane, Australia, on 4 March 2020. (Photo by Florent Rols/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to realise the future is here already and it is reshapable, writes John Sanei.


When Covid-19 hit, there were only four questions that took primary place in the human anxious hours of 03:00: 

  • Am I going to make it through this?
  • Do I have enough cash to see me through this?
  • Is my Family okay and safe?
  • Do I have enough toilet paper?

This was how we reacted.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs quickly broke itself apart amid the most harrowing pandemic the modern world had ever seen - and is still experiencing. Households latching their doors from the monster, businesses shutting shop - some for good - leaders looking ugly and relationships showing their hidden cracks. The unravelling of our lives began - and it now has plans to stay.   

The first aggravator of this discomfort is that as a species we have lived our lives for too long measuring our emotions, our successes and our relationships by length, and not by depth. We have built our lives around the "how long will it take" mentality that has now made us victims, and has blurred our vision through this pandemic.

While we are being intensely triggered by the needle points of The Survivor Consciousness, it seems we are miserable, negative, complacent - and everything is taking too damn long.

We are realising (maybe not yet admitting) that our default is to fight, flight and react - and we have done a pretty good job of detonating our internal and external world, because of it. We are stuck in the outcome of our consciousness. We are fighting to be heard, living on adrenaline, counting the days between the days between the days, waiting for it all to be over - and everyone's calling it "Resilience".   

Resilience

Somewhere between the masks and the sanitiser pumps, we have managed to hashtag "Resilience" as the way to be, and the key constituent in getting us back to where we were. In doing so, we have deepened the fault lines in our groundedness - expecting things to improve, leaders to lead and the virus to - well - just disappear so that we can all get back to what we were busy doing before March 2020.

It ain't happening. What is really happening is that we have trapped ourselves in the resilience bubble, measuring our days by how quickly we are able to find our way back. There is no back. There is only how, now and next.

We are breaking apart because we have lost sight of how to "respond, recover and reimagine". Many of us are playing in the drama triangles of our lives (CNN we are looking at you) and not enough in the creator space. Nowhere in this horror story have we witnessed a greater divide than between the optimists, the realists and the pessimists. Each with their own perspectives, and all with their own gas chambers. 

But what about a Possibilist? Can we return to a place of possibility? Can we remove "outcome" and "survival" from our mix, and equip ourselves with concrete guidelines to thriving through the challenge; harnessing a society that opts in to a less angry, less anxious, more practical, more responsible and more curious way of existing?

We are squarely in the winter of our lives; and there is a fracturing. A right and left and no centre. We should want to mobilise human evolution towards a middle ground, through a mind-and-heart breakthrough. Many of us are seeking to reshape our world from the inside out - but how. By starting a conversation between the left and right camps, that is how. 

Courage, curiosity and consciousness

There are no more excuses for broken systems, numbness, side-line coaching or dogmatism. As a collective, we need to fully immerse ourselves in the raw truth of this reality and make a choice: do we choose to become a by-product of Covid-19, or do we choose to become a FutureNEXT activator?

We need to return to courage, curiosity and consciousness. We need to seek out what is real, what is digestible and what does not need a three-month supply of toilet paper to make its point.

Perhaps it is time we understood that the future is here already, and its reshapable; that this reality is not about resilience, nor agility; this is in fact a practice of responsibility, curiosity and wisdom and it is going to take "us" to reimagine it. Because ultimately, we are fractured - but we are not broken.

- John Sanei is a futurist. Sanei and economist Iraj Abedian address this theme along with so much more in their new book, FutureNEXT. The book will be launched in Cape Town on Thursday 5 November and is also available for sale pre-launch on Takealot.

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