Jul 9, 2020

R&B: NOT NEW, NOTHING NORMAL

We have been talking about the “new normal”, but have we really thought what that is? With the happenstance, every pronouncement that we got is all temporary, fluid and varying. For instance, we started with lockdown in Luzon, was it mainland Luzon or the entire Luzon, including Palawan? Were we at ECQ or GCQ?

If change is normal, why is there a new normal? There is no new normal. There can only be changes. And it is but normal.

We have been talking about the “new normal”, but have we really thought what that is? With the happenstance, every pronouncement that we got is all temporary, fluid and varying. For instance, we started with lockdown in Luzon, was it mainland Luzon or the entire Luzon, including Palawan? Were we at ECQ or GCQ? From GCQ to MGCQ, only to be notified to be reverted to GCQ. Barber shops and beauty salons got to live for only for a breather until told to close down again because they were not yet essentials. Moreover, what is new in Manila, which is GCQ, is already modified to us (MGCQ, we are). Could this be a part of a new normal? Inconsistent.

On the contrary, the common experience that we have been having since day one of the quarantine was that we were brought back to the olden times. The time of family staying at home together. The time of having a meal together. The time of praying together. The time of no traffic congestion. The time of clean air and clear skies. Time-capsule flew us to the past then we all felt nostalgic. What is happening is not something new at all. It is reminiscent of what has been.

Come to think of it, the term “new normal” was coined ten years ago yet, 2010. It referred mainly then to financial hullabaloo after a recession (El-Erian). From monetary considerations of 2010 fast forwarding to 2020, the term now points to human behavior due to changes courtesy of COVID-19. See? New normal itself is neither new nor normal. It is just a change.

If we insist on new normal, it will make of us all abnormals. Two ways – the one who asserts turns abnormal since s/he would be talking of something new which has been deemed as old in actuality and the one who is subject to live under the new normal, albeit cluelessly. If it is new, how can it be normal? Absurd. Simply, abnormal.

Being abnormal is not living up to the standards or expectations. But (the big “but”, that is), who set standards? And from whose expectations? To live under other’s consideration is also tantamount to lockdown. We try to live from our inner conviction; never by strange imposition. Some people got to survive outside popular expectations and even against common perceptions: Wolfgang Mozart, Sorren Kierkegaard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Joan of Arc, Jose Rizal, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, among others. Wittingly or unwittingly, they defied what was normal during their lifetime. Else, they could be considered as abnormals.

To be normal is to be admittedly old. Anything new is yet unexplored. Again, there ca be no “new normal”. There is only the life that I must live, here and now. Putting another label to how we should be and the kind of life must we survive is like putting one brick after another to until the point of crumbling for lack of firm grounding. For Hanna Arendt, philosopher and author of the book entitled “Human Condition”, what is essential between the past and the future is about fixing – unfixing the fixed past and fixing the unfixed future. In other words, there is always the miracle of the new beginning. She said, “Men, though they must die, are not born in order to die, but in order to begin.” By all means, this crisis must end. We must begin again. Nothing new, it is just normal. Or, nothing is normal; there is always something new. What we need is to adjust, so as to live.

 

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