Post-Covid philosophy: The illusion of Freedom. (And why you are addicted to it)

In the face of the Covid pandemic (coronavirus) many countries imposed nation-wide lockdowns. We are now at the phase of easing those lockdowns. Businesses start operating gradually again and life is beginning to regain its momentum.

During one of the previous days and as part of this ‘going back to normal’ phase we are all in, I visited an electronics shop. I needed something to buy and I had postponed it a long time now. While I was walking in the store I suddenly discovered many other nice things I could use and I was immediately tempted at buying them. It was only after careful recollection and – I must admit – due to my degraded consuming reflexes because of the two-months quarantine, that I decided at the end not to buy them.

I returned home only with what I wanted. And it felt weird. I really felt like a junkie who had just denied himself the most exquisite of drugs just because – for a funny weird reason – he just did not want them?!

What had happened to me?

Why did I change like that?


As in all great questions, the question itself was wrong!

I should better be asking…

What had been happening to me all this time before?

Because you see…

I was already changed!

And as weird as it seems, that big change, the coronavirus pandemic, the lockdowns and the overall slowing down of life itself, had simply led me (and many others, as I understand) back at what we once used to be.

Just wander for yourself.

Did you always drink coffee in the morning? Were you always addicted to cell phones? Did you always need to login into dozens of sites to read news? Were you always addicted to buying things just because you have money to do so?

Our life is not our own.

And yet, we claimed ownership a long time ago.

Trying to impose our self on us.

The greatest illusion of them all – the greatest conspiracy in which we all abide, is the illusion that we are free men. Free to do as we want. Free to buy or not buy things. Free to sell things. Free to find a job, free to quit a job.

But we are not.

We do buy coffee every morning. Not because we want it, but because we have learned to do so. We do buy more and more things every day. Not because we will die if we don’t, but because we have been trained to do so. We sell things when we wish so. But only because of wishes that have been imposed on us by others. We are “free” to get a job. But only the jobs we have been told that are the ones worth it.

Many people have wrongly attributed the lockdowns to a global conspiracy to keep us at home. But this is the opposite of the greatest conspiracy unfolding before our very eyes: The conspiracy to be out and wander free, doing whatever you want.

Because feeling free is the greatest drug of them all. And when you take it, you never think that you might be not. The freedom is not what you really need. The illusion of grandeur that you feel is your true drug.

But remember Zen.

Seek less, to have more…

Staying at home.

Not buying things.

Being with family.

Those things that seem like ‘nothing’.

Are the ones which are everything.

These are the things that we used to do back in the days when we did not know that we could do “whatever we want”. And inside our “prison” we did feel happy. With no obligation to do things we did not want or to buy useless things that just make the void in our soul bigger. For while a “free” man can buy a coffee he doesn’t need and then come out of an electronics shop with two bags of things he “wants”, a a man in prison can dwell on the outer skirts of the universe by reading a book…

Now we will start going out again.

The “prison” doors are open.

But don’t be so happy being miserable.

Just ask the obvious…

– Sir, would that be a single or double espresso?

About the Holy Communion & Excuses…

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

In light of the coronavirus, many talk about the need to shut down churches, socialize only on the Internet, banish Christianity (interesting how more massive gatherings of Muslim communities in Europe have not gained so fierce enemies…) and declare Science as our new religion. For that reason I feel compelled to simply point out the following.

1. Science is ALREADY our new religion. For centuries now. So don’t worry about this one. Nobody does anything unless they hear the priests bearing the name “scientist” today. And I mean no one. Even Hitler was listening to scientists when he conducted eugenics.

2. Yes we should be careful not to spread a virus if we are sick. This is not about science but about common sense. The kind of logic that all people have. I mean mainly those people who believe that the world exists because someone made it (and not by accident), those who do not believe in an infinite number of universes that exist simply because someone wrote it in a scientific paper. But let us not get carried away from the subject… The Archdiocese in the US has made an interesting and logical announcement I think for that matter, which you can find here.

3. Priorities: What is more important? To close the subway or stop the Holy Communion? Shut down buses and workplaces or stop Holy Communion? How many will get sick by commuting in the subway and how many by the Holy Communion? Why do we always get into church matters first and foremost? Is the Church really so powerful today? Are there so many believers?

4. Scientific data: Despite what many people believe, science is not clear on the matter. There are scientific researches which claim that Holy Communion does not transmit diseases. I hereby enclose a related scientific research which you can find here. As the research concludes: “In conclusion, there is experimental evidence suggesting that sharing a communion cup contaminates the wine and cup. However, there has never been a documented case of illness caused by sharing a chalice reported in the literature”. Let everyone decide on their own and on the data they have at hand, but let us stop tagging people who will go to Communion as “obscurantists” so easily.

5. Other information: At times, there were priests who used to associate with leper and people with tuberculosis, to which they offered communion as well. Nothing happened. (you can easily find those cases on Google yourself) And this is another scientific indication (for what else is science than extracting conclusions based on systematic observation) that things are not so dangerous as people believe they are. I am not saying to go or not go to religious practices during a pandemic. And even if you believe, you might be humanly afraid to go – let’s not forget that Peter himself denied Jesus out of fear. This decision you will make based on your doctor’s advice (or the guidelines issued by your government). I am saying however that things are not as black and white as atheists claim they are.

6. Mystery: And I am not even going into the metaphysical issues about what the mystery and what the Holy Communion really means, the body and blood of Christ, et cetera. If you do not believe in these things, leave them where they are. Others believe them. And not because they are stupid. But because they are not. And they like the philosophy a little bit. Ah, and because they do not stupidly believe that there is only matter in the universe.

But again, I get away from the issue at hand.

Maybe again, this is the issue!

Coronavirus epidemic. Hand washing. The art of simple. And other ‘little things’…

According to scientists, to fight an epidemic, focus on hand washing. (1)

An advice which came into light just as the epidemic of the coronavirus is gaining momentum.

We have been so much focused on high-tech and elaborate methods of dealing with diseases, that we have forgotten the greatest weapon we ever devised against disease in the first place: Hygiene. And despite our best efforts, even today this still remains our best and most effective weapon.

It is the simple things.

The things we have forgotten.

In a cosmos with the best medical technology, nothing can prevent a virus if people do not wash their hands. In the most developed nation, nothing can save you if there are not sewers. In an era with methods for advanced gene editing available, people can still die for not having soap.

If philosophy can teach us something, anything, this is humility. The ability to look at the simplest things and still stare in awe. If philosophy can teach us something is lack of fear towards the storm. For even in the face of the greatest one, we can dare to say “I am the storm”.

Wash your hands.

Think small.

Those little things.

There is nothing bigger, as David Aames used to say…

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