Postponement 2020 - Lars Cederholm

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Warm Greetings,

In an irresistible urge I feel that I want to reach out to you hoping that you are in a good and safe place. Many of our friends out there in the world are busy looking over their own resources and coping with a revolution facing each one of us, regardless where we are and who we are. This morning I wrote to a friend in England trying to express something about Anna and myself and some general rambling about the world at large. It was good to just write and write so I just keep going……

I, the happy and incurably dizzy, self-proclaimed poet is challenged to sit here in my pleasant cage, peeking at the world through my own eyes, now in need of a serious check up. We are looking everywhere, local media, radio and TV, touching friends, surfing for information; different stuff, like f.ex. how people have avoided famine historically? That’s at the base of respect for older people in China who would be able to teach the young from experience of periodic failed harvests. Anna has a few things to say about facing a very serious shortage of food and I was around to see that for myself in Moscow 1990. Here is Anna's list from her experience at the time: Salt, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and clarify butter for long storage life and cut and dry bread and pack in linen sacks, store hanging. Hope you don’t have to take this advise of self-protection from famine. We just have to find ways of stopping the panic. I worry when I see someone filling the whole car with toilet paper. It smells trouble, no pun intended.

Our days are busy, albeit in some new ways. Now Anna and I take some brisk nature walks together, more so than before. Just back from one of these walks reflecting on people who, like Anna and myself, were experimenting with ground rules for interpersonal distance, in this case while walking in nature. The government recommendation for interpersonal distance is, 6 ft. Or 1.80 m, may well save many from a whole range of new calibration of social rituals where distance is the meta language and also a sign language revealing differences in class and education. 

I keep flipping between the somber tone of reason pouring our of Swedish P.Radio and TV. And over to CNN, BBC etc. Suddenly a whole new Olymp of technocrats and many young people are showing up in the media, representing institutes that most people didn’t even know exist. The need for facts has taken the forefront and I, we, must calibrate our senses, instincts and emotions as we try to make sense of this huge domino in rapid motion as we speak. A great majority of people living here in Swedes trust that we have good leaders to help us through this. People in Sweden may not be so formidable as individuals but they are pretty good, level headed system thinkers so that will help us to navigate to a new future in this little country of ours. Right now every Schengen country has closed its borders. I am not even allowed to go to Copenhagen in Denmark which is in some ways an intricate part of Malmö, with a busy bridge between us. Who would ever believe that we would see this day?

When this is all over, I hope we will have a much better understanding of what a country is for in the face of a deep crises and how we can build a better EU and a better world? Differentiation before an even stronger European integration I hope! Flipping to the shrill tone in the US and (the unlovely and inappropriate) Trump who, just a week ago, was fabricating political propaganda for his re-election mixed in with his own version of facts; Just like commercial TV where the real goal is marketing of products and services and content is there to pretend otherwise. Not so good when a strong US leadership is needed.
Would it not be nice if people competing for power and influence can to stop using slander, spinning facts and twisting quotes. Now if ever is a good time for authentic behaviour based on science and facts, set in a frame of wisdom.

I think it is fair to say that we have a more solid health care infrastructure in most of Europe (one payer system and all the rest of it) to deal with this mess, more integrated than in the more fragmented health care business in the US and the Global South. The different systems of health care will reveal the pros and cons under pressure and we must learn together as we move along. Regrettably, Italy is a wake up lesson to us all to be faster in how to take use the authority of the state to avoid that the health care systems implode. I some places the critically ill are flooding the capacity to care and it is so sad to think about these tragedies. 

I can’t help to speculate about the loose ends of it all and I, like you and everybody else, am flooded by questions about where the chips will be falling next; what new people will float up to power and influence in our societies? Have we passed the stage where people will come with the pitched forks as a way of alleviating fear and envy? Can we cooperate and globalise in new ways and can we use the lessons so far to the benefit of all? This is a bit like the Apollo project when a group solved an “impossible” problem to save the lives of the astronauts using some good Yankee ingenuity. Now we must problem solve on a global scale. How will phoenix, the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal, rise out of the ashes? Some of the lessons du jour are obvious, other covered by emotions etc. And the rest of it will be some great surprises. And for many vulnerable people it is about life and death so we all know … this is not a simulation. A man or woman without clothes must learn how to weave! Looking at our human history, we have good reason to believe that a whole new dimension of opportunities will unfold, perhaps more subtle and more difficult to detect this time? 

How long will the tax money keep countries and companies shut down and pay for business losses and salaries? No dog has a tail that measures two meters!! … My guess: People like me (77 with a diagnosed untreated astma or some other respiratory problems etc.) must stay away from public life for a time to be determined. They, me, we who are at serious risk of loosing our lives will need compassionate support from the abled. For the rest of us, … we need to get out, go back to work and work together. We all must learn how to be with each other (no sneezing, no nose picking etc.) and let nature immunise us all. This is of course controversial to say and I am sure we can have some meaningful exchanges in how to develop plan B and C. For most people this Covi-19 is no difference than the flu in terms of its impact! Including the untested cases world wide representing a significant number, mortality may be as low as 0,3%.of the people contaminated. 

Please don’t forget! Now the birds have started to build their nests, flowers are popping up everywhere, trees turn green and the sun is shining. We are breathing fresh air.

Love from your friends Lars (who is writing a science fiction book) and Anna (who paints and paints) with profound prayers that we will all be safe and come out of this much wiser and happier. 

May all the people who are sick be free from sickness, may the nations of the earth live in harmony, may pure conduct and merit increase, may we all be free from fear! 

Lars Cederholm