Read an article about the impact lockdown has had on society. I’ve taken from it a few elements, and it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.
1. “It’s clear that the coronavirus crisis has brought racial, gender and socio-economic inequalities into sharp focus” with the focus on Black Lives Matter, but also gender and socio-economic inequalities. Suggestions are that life as we know it will never be the same again because we will no longer accept such inequalities.
Strikes me as a good thing, though for some it might be a painful process learning new, more equitable rules. Structural inequalities that impact upon individual actions do need sharply addressing. Sad it has taken a pandemic to kickstart the process.
The article says: “A YouGov poll for the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) conducted in April at the height of the lockdown found just 9% of UK citizens wanted life to go back to the way it was before.” So, on the plus side, Covid-19, and lockdown may have brought about positive lasting change in the way we structurally treat whole groups of other people.
2. It mentions that our perceptions of happiness may be changing. By that, they mean a change from “subjective wellbeing” to more communal, welfarist, interdependence.
That’s an interesting one, I’m finding, as I think I’ve always fallen into the latter camp. Doing things for others has always been my way of operating – voluntary work, even when working full time and raising a family – was always on my agenda. This started formally in my teenage years, but even as a child I used to ‘teach’ the younger children in my road, entertain them through the summer with ‘club’ activities and write newsletters for them. So, somehow, it was probably inbuilt into my psyche. I was never individualist, even in the most societally selfish years from the neoliberalism of the 1980s. I often wondered why more people were not socially involved in causes/making things better. It perplexed me that they didn’t get het up enough to DO something!
Since the global lockdown, however, “responsible” citizenship seems to have become more associated with building community and looking out for each other. Government statistics released in June show that 73% of UK residents were confident that they could turn to others in their community for help during the pandemic, and 81% felt that people were doing more to help others than before the outbreak.
3. We saw many cases of responsible citizenship in Bude during lockdown, social media community groups setting up to help others, etc.
So, have we adopted a more outward view of wellbeing? There is also discussion of more mental health issues emerging from lockdown, while we hanker after communal activism and a real sense of community, which implies a mismatch over what we want or think we have and reality. It is suggested in the article that people have to feel empowered to become communally involved – maybe that is where the shift has been. Some aspire to feel empowered (and therefore engage) while others still feel they simply are not.
For many people, most contact with others has been through social media. My main experience of this is, as lockdown progressed, that is has been anything but pleasant, and led to outpourings of vitriol and criticism, not just of me but of others. There was little ‘changing the world for good’ going on. Maybe that is one reason why lockdown has actually made me feel less community-spirited, and more individualistic, more focused on my own life and ‘what’s in it for me?’ (like so many millions of others). Not sure I like the new me, but I haven’t much liked what I’ve seen of ‘out there’ either. What I have grown to love more and more is nature, birds, flowers, hedgerows, countryside, seaside … ideally with not another soul around. A whole new way of being for me.
Has lockdown made you more outward looking, more focused on your internal happiness, or keen to change the system?
Your views, as always, are very welcome (ideally not on social media as while I work with it, I try not to read most of it). You can comment on the website.