Reach in

Editorial |

Published: April 16, 2020 3:45:13 am

Coronavirus India lockdown, Internet celebs coronavirus lockdown, Covid-19 Coronavirus, indian express editorial The novel coronavirus is our first memento mori since the influenza pandemic.

The internet is overloaded, partly with the rashly confident opinions of economists on the behaviour of ribonucleic acid, and the anecdotal observations of geneticists falling headlong into the vaporous depths of economics. And partly by the millions of videos of celebrities doing exotic things, like mopping the floor or cooking some potatoes while looking improbably dishy. The lockdown has potentiated shape-shifting. The skill, hitherto regarded as fishy, is now mainstream.

But there is a reason why monks retire into monasteries, and nuns into nunneries. The purpose of isolation is to be alone — not lonely, but alone, for solitude facilitates contemplation. Contemplation is the only legitimate mode of action against an infinitesimal and implacable foe the size of a few molecules, against whom no antidote exists. Let us leave muscular action to the doctors, nurses and researchers who have the training or the brains for it. We, the locked down, can only help by being sessile, and looking within. The novel coronavirus is our first memento mori since the influenza pandemic. Let us contemplate it, in the manner of the ancients, and never mind that it turned them into fatalists.

So, please, no more videos of celebrities feeding the pituitary with fibre, or extensive lists of exercises for the gluteus maximus muscle. Please do not stream, but rather beam in. Admittedly, it is an unnerving novelty in a society accustomed to projecting familiar faces and the detritus of their lives, which are meaningful only because they are celebrities. They are celebrated because they are celebrated, which is circular logic as perfectly round as the kundalini chakra. But in the face of a memento mori, let us square the circle and follow the old ways. Instead of broadcasting, let us look within, and keep what we discover to ourselves — even if we are —celebrated.

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