Covid-19 from a spiritual perspective
This is a follow-up to my previous post, where I argue in favor of a cautious economic reopening on rational grounds.
In this post, I argue using more than mere rationality. I argue on the basis of life-affirming, fundamental principles grounded in a metaphysics which I have come to believe is true.
All reasons in favor of lockdowns are based on fundamental misconceptions. These misconceptions cause you misery in many ways, even outside of pandemics. The pandemic simply highlights the misery caused by the misconceptions.
The misconceptions include:
You doubt your own immortality. You may think you are a vulnerable, mortal piece of consciousness that somehow evolved from dead matter and must struggle as long as possible in vain before succumbing to nonexistence. But your consciousness is eternal. All consciousness is eternal. Your physical life will end, and must end, because this is a restrictive reality that limits your potential for growth. But your consciousness will not end with your body dying.
In another way, time is not what we imagine it to be. In that way, even your physical existence is eternal, in infinite versions that will continue to explore new probabilities even as your conscious focus shifts outside of this body.
You doubt there's meaning to your life. You may think your body and mind are negligible side effects of a cold, uncaring universe in which you are but a leaf in the wind, meaningless and inconsequential. You think your life may end at any moment and the universe won't care. In fact, every leaf has meaning and validity. Your existence is protected by the universe and you will not die until you are satisfied with your purposes for being here.
And then, once you are satisfied with your purposes, nothing can stop you dying, regardless of age.
You think the universe is adversarial. You may think the universe is not merely uncaring, but that the creatures in it, including yourself, have evolved from dead matter in a brutal fang-and-claw battle for survival. You may think human society is an artificial island of imagined meaning and cooperation, against a grim background of meaningless life-or-death struggle. In reality, the entire universe is a cooperative venture. This includes not only humans, but animals, plants, and even viruses and bacteria. What we think of as nasty viruses that are our nemesis, are essential to our experience and survival. They are in your body right now, not giving you any trouble – in fact, helping you live.
You think your body is defenseless. You might imagine that your body, left to itself, is prone to degenerate and fall apart. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you believe this enough, it will happen, but even as you believe it, your body struggles to make the best of what your beliefs allow. Your body is not vulnerable to diseases. It opens itself to disease when this serves a purpose, or when your beliefs determine that it must. Otherwise, the natural state of your body is health. Cancers can be overcome like they weren't even there, if you do not desire to die.
You think you're a victim, so you need a savior. The body is seen as the victim, and medicine is then the savior. The more firmly you believe this, the more necessary medical theater becomes. Our modern medicine is fundamentally an exercise in shamanism, except that a witch doctor only had to sacrifice chickens to convince patients they can now be healthy. The beliefs of our society, doctors and patients alike, in deterministic and inescapable maps of sickness are so pervasive, so profound, that this requires people to sacrifice their breasts, undergo chemotherapy and other damaging rituals, to become convinced that enough has been done to survive.
Yet fundamentally – applying the above principles:
No one dies who does not want to die. If you don't want to die, you're not going to die from Covid-19 either.
It is legitimate to want to die. We are all going to die. We die because this is needed. Some people want to die but are ashamed to admit it. Because of the stigma associated with death, many don't want to admit it to themselves.
Disease provides a face-saving way out. If you prevent people dying from Covid-19, they will die later from another disease or accident. Meanwhile, you're prolonging a kind of existence for them which they do not desire.
An epidemic is not fundamentally caused by a lethal virus. When many die, this is an expression of dissatisfaction with the state of the world and conditions of life. Such mass protest occurs when other avenues for change have been stifled, or appear hopeless. At the same time, every individual involved has varying, personal reasons to die.
No one falls sick who has no reason. Most people with Covid-19 have no symptoms. If you have no need for symptoms or lasting effects, you won't have them. People who fall sick either have a reason, or they make this happen by indulging chronic beliefs about body fragility, personal victimhood and inevitability of sickness.
Self-perspective: qualifying statementsTo put the above into perspective, a brief Q&A with my inner skeptic:
denis - aren't those some crazy beliefs?!
They are certainly at odds with widely accepted assumptions in religions and science. Those assumptions, however, are ideas that are fundamentally making us miserable. In that regard, the above is a recognition, and a daring to disbelieve, of ideas that are a source of misery. At the same time, it's an opening up to life-affirming alternatives.
If you don't believe something like the above, then existence makes no sense. A logical conclusion of the assumptions we take for granted ends up with Peter Wessel Zappfe's The Last Messiah. That's an essay worth reading which I very much liked in the past. But it is existentially depressing, and this stems from assumptions from religion and science that are so widely held as to seem invisible. I invite you to reconsider their absoluteness.
Uh, sure. But, denis – how long have you held these beliefs?
Err, yeah. A few months. :) Since I seriously started reading the Seth Material.
So you may simply be in a temporary state of suspended disbelief, while you are reading the Seth Material?
It is possible. I find the Seth books highly valuable, possibly the most of anything I've read. Certainly, it's the best body of work I know out of anything metaphysical. I'm currently 6 books into it and once I'm done, I may re-read. Re-reading is something I usually never do, but in this case I might find it (in)valuable.
After I'm no longer actively reading Seth, my beliefs may develop in new ways, or they may regress to the mean. But I hope they never return to what they were before, because those metaphysics were making me miserable.
Suppose you were diagnosed with cancer. Are you seriously saying you would not take treatment?
I currently have more interest in life than I've had in years. If I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, it would surprise me and make me wonder whether Seth's views are in fact correct. It would seem to make little sense.
But ironically, if I was diagnosed with cancer, I would have been less likely to accept treatment before Seth. At that point, I had a simmering death wish – a revulsion which I now recognize was an existential protest against a cruel or uncaring universe insinuated by ideas we assume in religion and science. So, yes: I would have welcomed cancer, and rejected (or sabotaged!) treatment, since this would have provided me with a face-saving way out.
After Seth, I'm finding more power in the now, more love in the universe, and therefore more zest for life. So counter-intuitively, I would now be more willing to accept a hopefully less invasive treatment, both as a symbolic gesture in which I affirm life, and also since it should not do lasting harm if I have no need for that, and don't believe it must.
But if the treatment is highly invasive, then ehhh, maybe fuck it. There are prices I'm not willing to pay for life. :)