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Better to live for a single day

And let the music play

Performance of Brahms Requiem
Basilique de Saint-Denis

Confinement is not the ultimate threat and it is not the cause of my revolt. After all, countless men and women have been unjustly confined (imprisoned), only later to emerge as expanded and empowered souls. On an individual level, confinement can serve us well. Even on a collective level, there is potential benefit to halting our suicidal economic system. Maybe, just maybe, we will now bifurcate toward a more sustainable and humane way of life on earth. Indeed, we may even accept great hardship for that to occur. Confinement to create a better world would be worth our while.

But those are not the reasons now invoked for having locked us down. It is not for their sake that we have been ordered :

  • to leave behind the life-giving sea and flee from the forests (if you live in France, you know what I mean)

  • to stop the music playing (if you play in an orchestra, you know what I mean)

  • to forsake the ones we love (if your elderly parent(s) live far away, or if they died with no funeral, you know what I mean).

No, we have been coerced into confinement because every single one of us has become a suspected potential assassin. All of us may carry another’s death sentence on our breath. “Stay home, save lives” is such a compelling slogan that confinement has become a matter of morality. Doing our utmost to ease the burden of healthcare heroes is another argument against which we have no defense; if the current situation may be likened to a war, then they are indeed the soldiers. Finally, the plea to take care of those who are the most vulnerable among us is indeed a proof of our humanity, and a recognition that we are not separate from one another.

All of these arguments, instead of drawing out the crusader in me, have made me feel ensnared in a terrible ethical dilemma. Profoundly sympathetic with all of them, there is a bothersome itch telling me that I am being manipulated in the most subtle and subversive way.

The probability of any one of us transmitting the virus indeed appears to be very high. The probability of that transmission being a death sentence remains, shall we say, subject to expert debate? The data tracked on Worldometer continues to suggest a low mortality rate, compared to all the other causes of death that usually preoccupy us (or not). Surely there is no censorship when the plain data is in everyone’s hands. But what use is data when so many are convinced à priori of what is right and what is wrong? It in no way diminishes the grief for a single deceased loved one to acknowledge that the world’s top ten causes of death continue to make Covid19 look like a small hump between mountains of mortality.

For those of us who find the media hysteria instinctively revolting (not all seem to), against whom should we revolt? Against those who impose measures that no data appears to even remotely support? Against those who accept all such measures with the best of intentions (described above)? Or against ourselves, having swallowed such measures with hardly a hiccup? But there was so little time, and such a blur of contradictory information, to make the right choice. If it is war, as many world leaders claimed, then it was indeed a blitzkrieg. Indeed, those governments who were quickest to act (the unabashedly authoritarian Vietnam) obtained the best results.

Revolt is what I feel, but in itself I know it will bring no good. Now, as we begin waking up from this bad dream, regaining some movement in our limbs, we can begin to take some baby steps towards full autonomy. Without stirring up discord, there are some questions we should seriously ask ourselves at this stage that will inform our future acts.

Will we accept restrictions on social gatherings whose sole purpose is to edify and ennoble our existence? Must we close the Philharmonia to save lives? Do we agree to deprive millions of performers of their sole livelihood? I for one would rather live one day of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony than a hundred years of dumbing digital beats. The photo I chose to accompany this post is from a performance of the Brahms Requiem at the Saint-Denis Basilica (Paris). I played in that concert only two springtimes ago. The irony is that Brahms wrote that Requiem out of his generous spirit to comfort those in grief. In 2020, comfort in grief is no longer an acceptable substitute for those who want to annihilate every incurable disease from the planet.

Will we accept restrictions on sharing meals in groups or dining together in restaurants? I for one would prefer a single banquet with exquisite foods and fine friends, than a hundred years of intravenous sustenance.

Will we accept restrictions on our freedom of movement? I’m not suggesting we maintain the ecological disaster of pre-Covid19 air travel, but at the moment we in France don’t even have the right to walk 105km to visit grandma, much less take for a walk on the beach. I for one would prefer one day of wild wandering than 100 years of living like a hamster.

Will we continue to amass the sick in confined hospital spaces and combine chemicals when there is enough evidence that they would be better off in the fresh air and sunshine? This was tested during the 1918 flu epidemic, but it just sounds too good to be true.

Will we accept imposed vaccinations against this and other future viral threats? Must we forfeit our own body’s immune system, more superbly sophisticated than any substitute? I for one would prefer to live one day in sovereignty than a hundred years dependent on someone else’s patent.

Some may say that I’m making the choices seem too extreme. As the expression goes, the frog that is warmed up until the water boils doesn’t sense the extreme before it’s too late. By the time our freedoms are entirely suppressed, our faculty to sense the intolerable will be dulled. It will come to feel so much easier and normal to prefer security over freedom.

Some may suggest that I’m blowing things out of proportion since the restrictions are all temporary (the famous wartime emergency). Well, how many days out of your year and how many years out of your life are you willing to consider temporary? Did the war on terrorism as declared in 2001 ever really end?

Some may suggest that I am either dumb or immoral, unable or unwilling to recognizing the obvious imperative to do everything possible to save every possible life. I have met many of you indirectly on Facebook. I have felt your thundering moral condemnation. I would like you to know that I acknowledge your good intentions to save human lives and minimize human suffering.

Some may suggest I only hold these beliefs only because I am young and healthy. I would like to live 100 years so as to demonstrate that believing in one’s sovereignty also happens to be good for longevity. Why would I want to show that? To free you from your fear!

Some may suggest that I hold these beliefs only because I am no longer under forty and have already lived a good life. If I could grant every human on earth one day to fully live all of those “one-day experiences” I have described above, let me die today (but only after those taxes I pay).

- Excerpt from Corona Confessions: Some truths only I may tell, by Carsten Sprotte. Expected release by the end of 2020.


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