Unprecedented Times

I’m sure the word “unprecedented” will become the word of the year for 2020. Well, at least here in Australia. It was used in connection with the recent bushfires and now in relation to the Coronaviris pandemic.

Today, as seven of us from the U3A (University of the Third Age) met in the Rotunda of Sumsion Gardens at the appropriate 1.5 metres from each other, following an email from the tutor of our class, “The Bible: Reading Ancient Documents from the Mediterranean World in English Translation”, we shared our questions from the readings of Joshua, Judges and Ruth. However, one of our member, quoting her husband – a doctor – couldn’t help sharing her interpretation of current events as being a conspiracy of the billionaires using their power to incite fear. When I raised the query that the current situation has actually brought about a change in governments, that they are in fact pouring billions of dollars into the public to prop up jobs and small business, she countered that the money is meaningless and not worth anything. Perhaps she has a point as they print money randomly!

What I do know is that in fact, several myths that we have been sold over the past 20 years have been smashed:

Myth 1# Different political parties cannot work together.

Myth 2# Those who are unemployed have brought it on themselves.

Myth 3# Profits and [the god of] the Economy are more important than people and the environment.

Myth 4# People who demonstrate compassion and kindness are weak, pitiable and exploitable.

In previous generations, this virus would have been known as “the old person’s friend” as pneumonia was known. I have no doubt whatsoever, that there are those in nursing homes who are on multiple medications [which collectively keep the pharmaceuticals going] who are hoping for contamination with the virus, and thus an end to their suffering.

In the 1990’s in my role as research assistant with Cheryl Tilse at Queensland Uni., I was required to interview residents, family members and staff at a not-for-profit [church] aged care facility. The manager confided to me that 20 years previously [in the 1970’s] people “died more cleanly” having not been “kept alive on medication”. At that stage, work was newly categorised into “tasks” thus leaving caring staff unable to interact meaningfully with residents resulting in loss of work satisfaction as well as loss of caring interactions for residents.

In my more pragmatic moments, I reflect on the fact that pandemics in previous times have taken the physically weak and vulnerable from us. Certainly given the millions of jobs lost, and if I was living in an aged care facility, my preference would be to go quickly with such a virus than linger longer with no quality of life. What do you think?


  1. Controversial and thought provoking but not sure I agree, I still think keeping the infection from spreading into out of control numbers is important given the evidence of Italy. Quality of life is important though but perhaps that opens up another discussion all together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comment Sharon. I realise that it is a luxury to express such a sentiment, living in a country that respects and values the rights of all its citizens. Though it has been hard to understand the way some in our society are blamed / punished for their situations in recent years, it has been heartening to see our intrinsic values of kindness, care and compassion rising to the surface once again.


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