The Covid crisis brings us back to the centre
Around this Covid crisis, the changes in society are brutal, the measures taken are radical, and the reactivity of everyone to know what is good in this period is extreme.
We are not in a conflict of ideology, we are obviously in something much more organic.
People could kill each other, whereas for everyone, the concern seems to be to reconcile needs as varied and essential as well-being and individual freedom, collective responsibility, ethics, health, the economy, living well together, etc., etc.
It is gigantic!
It seems to me that we are facing a central question of existence itself… and which paradoxically is rarely directly addressed… It is simply that of integrity.
Integrity at the heart of life
I talk about it around me and I realise that the very notion of integrity is blurred for most people… and yet it is the very basis of the phenomenon of life.
This is certainly the reason why anything related to it activates violent reactions.
Simply put, living things are characterised by their incredible ability to maintain a stable form, with precise arrangements of molecules, complex cell membranes forming finely compartmentalised spaces to perform targeted biochemical functions, all in a constant flow of matter and information… a flow that tends to destroy what is orderly, to reduce rocks to sand, to flatten landforms.
We, the living beings clinging to the surface of our planet, are constantly performing the miracle of going upstream in the stream of destruction to build our bodies, our species, our societies.
Our whole being aims first and foremost at this goal, consciously or not… and it does so in interrelation with others, for this is where our cohesion can be best.
Healthy ecosystems are the most diverse: with a high degree of interweaving of different life forms, the incredible molecular order created by organisms endures for as long as possible and multiple solutions are available to recover from each disruption.
Humans show a real failure in this integrity function in their capacity for self-maltreatment and destruction of their natural environment.
This probably comes from the fact that we are social animals and that group membership is necessary for our integrity. In the wild, being excluded from the tribe is a death threat: we panic at the idea of not belonging to a group of people, and will do anything to prevent this from happening, even if the values carried by that group are unhealthy and it is harmful to be part of it.
With the ancient wounds of our humanity, this starts very early: when we come into a family, most likely as early as foetal life, we scan our environment to see what place we will take in the family puzzle.
In an ideal that certainly doesn’t exist anywhere, it would be healthy, when an individual comes into the world, to listen to what he or she brings as a singular capacity or gift, and to give him or her everything he or she needs to grow and unfold that… because the more that person is fulfilled, the more the collective will benefit.
Alas, there is rarely enough fullness in the parents to fulfil these needs spontaneously… and depending on what is missing (protection, affection, listening, joy, tranquillity, trust… etc), the child has to deploy strategies to obtain this support anyway.
The individual learns very early on, unconsciously therefore, to bargain…. even if only to obtain the minimum: to be part of a group!
Bargaining in adulthood can be a game… when you are a baby, it is a loss of integrity… because what we know often happens: children take care of their parents… they give them energy.
From this point on, the legitimacy of needs is broken, and the habit is formed of lowering oneself, even exhausting oneself, in order to have the right to belong.
On this basis, the human mind is entangled and often unable to feel, or even think, the losses of integrity it generates in its life. It is visceral.
It is much easier to see the lack of self-respect in others than in ourselves.
Fear of the living and the dead, and the desire for control
When collective support is as much a source of energy-consuming adaptations as it is of support, we inevitably become on edge, and the unknown becomes an unbearable, unmanageable danger.
Illness and death are experienced as terrible threats.
The uncontrollable explosion of wild, organic life is at least as great.
To escape these sources of uncontrollable disturbance, humans have become experts in control systems, and are becoming more and more so.
What some people call progress is, in my view, much more a rush of the worried mind, which pushes humans to find a form of ‘security off the ground’… quite simply because they have long since lost the basic security of the bond of trust. In this headlong rush towards sanitisation, the human species is not only trying to « put nature in order » by replacing wild and living forests with deadly monocultures, but also to break down the social fabric and all human biodiversity, planetary, to create a standardised society.
The staggering technological rise of the last few decades opens up frightening avenues for population control, but also for putting individuals out of their depth as they spend more and more time in virtual worlds.
… A vicious circle, because the more the mind cuts itself off from feelings, the less able it becomes to manage insecurity, and the more it will seek to control and distance itself from nature as a source of overflow.
Death, which is inherent to vital processes, and even indispensable to the balance of ecosystems (in a healthy forest, it is essential that there be at least 40% dead wood), becomes unbearable. Disease becomes a source of panic, and the intervention of viruses, bacteria and other natural elements becomes a calamity that must be eradicated.
In short, the other becomes the enemy.
Preserving the integrity of all for the collective good
It is normal and healthy to look after the weakest among us. It is a mark of humanity.
It is even, certainly, what has made the human race strong, because the fact of including those who would not survive on their own allows skills to emerge that would not have had the space to appear without this collective security. The variety of skills makes the collective more effective and more integrated. In the end, each individual in a tribe that includes the « weaknesses » is itself strengthened.
This should be a starting point for all collective decision-making.
Is this or that decision or action good for the group and for each individual in the group? This can be called ‘bottom-up inclusive integrity’.
For a long time we have been taught another way of thinking that could be called ‘top-down sacrificial integrity’.
In order to preserve one part of the population (weak or not, by the way), the others are asked to diminish themselves in one way or another. This is the basis of feudalism, the dominance of the religious system, the internal dynamics of many families, and the current phenomena of health policy.
The driving force behind the adherence to this lowering of integrity for the benefit of others is guilt: he who refuses to sacrifice himself is an egoist.
This is an operating point of the human dynamic that causes me great sadness.
At the risk of sounding idealistic, I say that I believe in a vital dynamic, and in societies, based on the awareness that when we do good to the other, we do good to ourselves… and so I believe, conversely, that when we don’t do good to ourselves by helping the other, in the end everyone loses.
This should, in my opinion, be a basic guideline.
I apply this logic and attention in my coaching, whether it is individual or group: if I come out of a session exhausted instead of strengthened, then it is a sign that something has not been « done » properly.
I think this principle can be applied at all scales, whether it’s human collectives or the wider ecology.
It may be a gamble, but it is part of a paradigm that offers many more options than the sacrificial logic. This is what permaculture is all about: increasing the degree of connection for the benefit of all and the whole.
Emergent logic versus the will to control
It seems to me that we are experiencing an increasingly clear split between two groups of people who just view integrity in symmetrically opposite ways.
For some, including myself, the maximum integrity can only be emergent: life itself with its own ‘intelligence’, whether conscious or unconscious, has an infinite capital of adaptation and from this base, in which, as we know, micro-organisms play a central role, appear reorganisation solutions that no previous calculation could have imagined and even less implemented.
This ’emergent’ thinking leads to a vision of ecology that aims above all to support natural processes with curiosity, presence and adaptability.
It is a way of thinking that also leads to the view that humans are capable of self-organisation and that the maximum order can only come ‘from below’.
For others, nature left to its own devices is only chaos… and humans left to their own devices are only capable of disorganisation and destructive individualism.
For these people, civilisation is about control.
We know that some ruling groups (such as the Bilderberg Group) clearly take this position, according to which it is necessary for an elite, more intelligent and knowledgeable than the « people », to decide for all what is good. This is the patriarchal image of the enlightened king.
More generally, it is a deeply held belief that order comes ‘from above’.
I assume here that this second way of seeing the world is, in my opinion, purely pathological, that it stems from the disconnection of the human being from his own body and from the nature of which he is a part, and from the panic engendered by the unknown and death. I assume that this way of thinking is born of early emotional deficiencies that have not been treated and lead individuals to harm their own integrity by themselves
I believe this is the root of the belief that states are necessary, that authority is necessary, that technology will save us by improving our condition (or even make us immortal).
I also assume that the other way of looking at life is deeply anarchist… as Proudhon defined it: « anarchism is order without power ».
The cosmos is ordered, nature is ordered, we are ordered.
Disorder seems to me to be much more the arrogance of our restless mentals who seek to master everything, even if it means destroying life.
The drift of the Covid
If we put all this into the context of the management of the health crisis, we can easily understand that there is no need to think of an organised conspiracy to envisage the emergence, from all the fears of the living stored up for millennia, of the radical decisions of control that are there.
It is a whole understanding of the immune system that is at stake and conditions our behaviour. I was shocked, when I was a high school biology teacher, to see that immunity was taught as a warrior system for destroying the foreigner, and not as a system for relating to the outside world, capable of producing an extremely wide range of behaviours with regard to viruses, bacteria and other external agents, of which inclusion is one. It was difficult for the students to envisage that our body could choose, when it is good for it, to develop certain diseases… because in doing so it would allow the expression of genes (bacterial or viral) different from its own, and that this would therefore be an enrichment for it.
It is difficult to get people out of this virus = enemy logic which is the basis of the Pasteurian education that has been imposed for decades, and which makes it difficult to question the very logic of vaccination.
There is no need to lend our leaders sufficient intelligence to orchestrate a vast plot!
There is a collective co-creation that really, sincerely, makes people from very different backgrounds think that health constraints, digital controls, the development of facial recognition and other developments in society are necessary because humans need to be controlled.
Personally, I think that we are touching on a point that does not need to be discussed and is purely a matter of what we feel is right, outside of any rational argument.
Do we want a standardised world or a diversified world?
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)