It is wonderful to see the sun out and people outdoors again. Walking, running, and biking. Experiencing a little ray of sunshine and occasionally, just occasionally, a smile and a friendly hello.
Cities and provinces are preparing their re-opening plans with great enthusiasm. Curves are being flattened. People are believing there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Normal days will soon return.
Or will they? To quote one of the greatest Canadians of all time …
“With illusions of someday cast in a golden light No dress rehearsal, this is our life.”
Before we start thinking that we will be allowed to return to normal, let us explore three factors affecting human emotions and contemplate how motivated our elected decision-makers will be to return life back to normal:
Dependency: Almost 70% of Canadians are receiving weekly and monthly cheques from the Government of Canada to meet their basic living or commercial needs. Decisions may be made to reduce these payments over time, but what politician would be motivated to eliminate them all together?
Fear: Consumption of mass media has had a profound effect on human entrancement and in the instilling of fear. Perceptions of risk, health, and safety have little to do with science or empirical evidence; rather, they are shaped by cultural assumptions about human vulnerability. Will the fear of a second wave or non-immunity handcuff our elected officials and perpetually prevent the end of social distancing?
Control: Every morning, elected officials get to emerge in front of a microphone and robotically tell us that “we need unlimited spending authority” and “we will not resume parliament” and “here is some more money” and “we have your back” and that “we will get through this … together.” Do they really want to return back to normal or even understand what the old normal actually was?
Daily foreshadowing messages are being delivered to set expectations that measures could be in place for months, that re-opening will require a coordinated national response, and that even as things are able to start getting back to normal, they won’t be back to normal.
This is really interesting territory we are entering into. Even though we can re-open the economy, will we?
Or maybe we should be prepared to “sit silently and listen to our thoughts.”