A year ago, I was deep in sleep.
To be more specific, I was in an Intensive Care Unit at Auckland Hospital, in the second of two induced comas. My wife, Yana, waiting anxious, helpless, and ever supportive by my side.
Things had gone awry after my kidney transplant. My body was in toxic shock. The prognosis was iffy at best. My wider family was called to the hospital to say goodbye to me. The mood was tense.
However, being as resilient as a weed, I survived. I awoke and made my way back to life.
Now, twelve months later I’m alive and … well … somewhere between discombobulated and disappointed.
On a personal basis things are good. Thanks to the dedication of a team of medical professionals and — in my view — an admirable public health system, my recovery has been remarkable. The new kidney is working well, and my strength has returned slowly but surely.
While the post-transplant drugs have caused me to pile on weight and I’m now officially a fat bastard plagued by chronic sciatica and constant pain, I’m above ground and that’s better than the alternative.
Many others were not so lucky. I lost my beloved younger brother, TJ, in December. And far too many people I knew and cared about left us during the past year. A fact made all the harder since Covid restrictions precluded both dignified funerals and raucous wakes. It was all so surreal and detached — like it wasn’t really happening.
And it’s this weird, conflicted state the world seems trapped in that has contributed to my sense of discombobulation. I’m sure many of you can identify with that.
On the other hand, my disappointment stems from the way people have reacted to all of this. The anger. The division. The derision. The rise and rise of disinformation, misinformation and sheer stupidity that threaten to plunge us into civil wars and/or humanity destroying international conflicts.
People have lost perspective. Society has been dumbed down to the point where YouTube videos take precedence over published scientific research. Rumour trumps fact. (And I use the word trump deliberately).
I know all too well that partisan media can present biased views but am I the only one who sees the irony of protestors fired up by social media disinformation railing against major media for denying us access to the truths?
Pedophile ring led world government plots and other lunatic conspiracy theories can only gain traction in world where a Kardashian can have hundreds of millions of followers and a ‘reality’ show called ‘90-day Fiancée’ can attract viewers. This is what you get when you move the bar down to the level of the lowest common denominator. And therein lies the fundamental flaw of democracy: Two idiots can outvote a genius.
With that in mind it seems to me that The USA has declined from Democracy into Idiocracy, yet still stomps around the world as the self-appointed leader of the free world, vowing to protect us from Totalitarianism, Communism and Socialism — as if they were one and the same.
Socialism is still seen as a plague by a country largely driven by fundamental Christians who fail to see that Christ, like virtually all religious figureheads, was essentially a socialist. Whereas, ironically, evangelistic Christian church leaders are blatant capitalists.
Hypocrisy abounds. As does corruption. Not just in the monetary sense‚ which is breathtaking, but also — and more concernedly — in a moral sense. I sometimes think that we are not just morally corrupt, but morally bankrupt.
Right now, the world’s great nations are butting heads and flexing their defence force muscles in various arenas of brinksmanship, which, if they do ignite, can only ever end in the destruction of humanity.
This is insane on every level.
The only people who win at war are those who supply the weapons and those who clean up the mess afterwards. And with very little digging you’d find these are the covert forces behind the hawkish attitudes in most countries — if not all.
It is not politics or religion that fuels wars, it’s profit.
I’ve said this before and rest assured I will say it again: If a fraction of the money we spend on arms was spent on battling social inequalities and environmental problems around the world, there would be no wars.
Fifty years after my first forays into what was rather dismissively called the environmental protest movement the planet is far worse shape than it was then. And many of my own generation are now the very people who pour derision onto the likes of Greta Thunberg for her anger and disrespect. Whereas I think Greta and her generation have every reason to be angry. We are handing them the world in a dreadful state. Why should they respect that?
Finally, there will be those who read this and dismiss me as ‘woke’ — woke being a word used facetiously by the likes of shock jocks and jaundiced journalists who seem to believe it’s a witty put down.
Incomprehensible when you consider that woke means ‘having an awareness of systematic injustices and prejudices, especially those related to civil and human rights’ and ‘aware of the facts and true situation.’ So, to use the term derisively is patently stupid.
And it’s the seemingly unstoppable spread of stupidity in the world today that disappoints me most.
However, given that I can do nothing about any of this, I am going to take my own advice and just … Be.