“Covid-19 is like a rehab intervention that breaks the addictive hold of normality. To interrupt a habit is to make it visible; it is to turn it from a compulsion to a choice. When the crisis subsides, we might have occasion to ask whether we want to return to normal”
In Charles Eisenstein’s thought provoking essay The Coronation, taking a macro perspective of the current global pandemia, (possibly a largely inflated morbid panic and concomitant crisis of confidence in our failing systems of governance, healthcare and economics?) Eisenstein points out the opportunity buried within the crisis for how we engage with each other, healthcare and the environment…
A certain schizophrenia afflicts the modern culture of health. On the one hand, there is a burgeoning wellness movement that embraces alternative and holistic medicine. It advocates herbs, meditation, and yoga to boost immunity. It validates the emotional and spiritual dimensions of health, such as the power of attitudes and beliefs to sicken or to heal. All of this seems to have disappeared under the Covid tsunami, as society defaults to the old orthodoxy.
Case in point: California acupuncturists have been forced to shut down, having been deemed “non-essential.” This is perfectly understandable from the perspective of conventional virology. But as one acupuncturist on Facebook observed, “What about my patient who I’m working with to get off opioids for his back pain? He’s going to have to start using them again.” From the worldview of medical authority, alternative modalities, social interaction, yoga classes, supplements, and so on are frivolous when it comes to real diseases caused by real viruses. They are relegated to an etheric realm of “wellness” in the face of a crisis. The resurgence of orthodoxy under Covid-19 is so intense that anything remotely unconventional, such as intravenous vitamin C, was completely off the table in the United States until two days ago (articles still abound “debunking” the “myth” that vitamin C can help fight Covid-19). Nor have I heard the CDC evangelize the benefits of elderberry extract, medicinal mushrooms, cutting sugar intake, NAC (N-acetyl L-cysteine), astragalus, or vitamin D. These are not just mushy speculation about “wellness,” but are supported by extensive research and physiological explanations. For example, NAC (general info, double-blind placebo-controlled study) has been shown to radically reduce incidence and severity of symptoms in flu-like illnesses.
As the statistics I offered earlier on autoimmunity, obesity, etc. indicate, America and the modern world in general are facing a health crisis. Is the answer to do what we’ve been doing, only more thoroughly? The response so far to Covid has been to double down on the orthodoxy and sweep unconventional practices and dissenting viewpoints aside. Another response would be to widen our lens and examine the entire system, including who pays for it, how access is granted, and how research is funded, but also expanding out to include marginal fields like herbal medicine, functional medicine, and energy medicine. Perhaps we can take this opportunity to reevaluate prevailing theories of illness, health, and the body. Yes, let’s protect the sickened fish as best we can right now, but maybe next time we won’t have to isolate and drug so many fish, if we can clean the tank.
I’m not telling you to run out right now and buy NAC or any other supplement, nor that we as a society should abruptly shift our response, cease social distancing immediately, and start taking supplements instead. But we can use the break in normal, this pause at a crossroads, to consciously choose what path we shall follow moving forward: what kind of healthcare system, what paradigm of health, what kind of society. This reevaluation is already happening, as ideas like universal free healthcare in the USA gain new momentum. And that path leads to forks as well. What kind of healthcare will be universalized? Will it be merely available to all, or mandatory for all – each citizen a patient, perhaps with an invisible ink barcode tattoo certifying one is up to date on all compulsory vaccines and check-ups. Then you can go to school, board a plane, or enter a restaurant. This is one path to the future that is available to us.
Another option is available now too. Instead of doubling down on control, we could finally embrace the holistic paradigms and practices that have been waiting on the margins, waiting for the center to dissolve so that, in our humbled state, we can bring them into the center and build a new system around them.
From Charles Eisenstein’s essay at charleseisenstein.org/essays/the-coronation – very much a worthwhile read in it’s entirety.