When my grandfather was in his mid-twenties, he was nearly murdered at the Katyn massacre. His brother was. My grandfather managed to evade capture by burning his papers and uniform, after which he found himself in a Siberian gulag, where he stayed for five years. Eventually, he managed to make it to the UK, where he met and married my grandmother. They went on to have three children, whilst he worked long hours in a factory, and were married until his death in 1981.
I often think about this situation, and how it compares to modernity. How would we fare if, as twenty-somethings, we had had to endure the horrors of war, witness family members murdered in front of us, survive the punishing climates of prisoner of war camps... and not only survive all that, but maintain the emotional and psychological stability required to move on with our lives afterwards?
It was not an option for my grandfather or others of that time to say, "this is too much for me. I can't cope. I give up", and it cannot be an option for us and the war we are in, either.
It has been customary in human societies since time immemorial for people to have to endure great personal turmoil and loss, whether through wars, famines, natural disasters, or other great challenges, but Western societies in the last 70 years have offered their populations an unnatural and cosseted state of calm. We are accustomed to there always being food on the supermarket shelves, to warm and safe homes, to very limited and infrequent personal tragedy, and we have been given the very distinct impression by all dominant cultural voices and social institutions that this is "it" - the apex of human civilisation and how things will be forever. There was even a book written about modern Western democracies called "The End of History" - !
But this view always was - and now has been starkly revealed as - naive and myopic. Of course our societies weren't "done"; of course it wasn't going to "be this way forever", because our "pre-C" society was rife with all sorts of toxic and destructive trends that meant its demise was imminent - and long-since planned.
When lockdown and all the attendant hysteria commenced in March 2020, I was not surprised. I had known for years our society was just "kicking the can down the road" and was on the verge of (albeit heavily engineered) collapse, and then I realised how the collapse was going to be detonated - via a fake plague - in April 2019, and wrote a post outlining my predictions then (https://www.facebook.com/miri.anne8/posts/10155954435416034)
A lot of the new-age brigade take great offence to this sort of thing, that spotting patterns and predicting outcomes is "manifesting the negative" which is tediously ridiculous and completely unhelpful - in fact, being aware of what is to come and preparing yourself for it is the only thing that enables you to survive it; burying your head in the sand and "only focusing on the positive" often means when true disaster hits, you cannot cope. I can honestly say that I have never, throughout this whole pantomime, felt seriously depressed or without hope or like giving up. Because I knew it was coming and so had done a lot of psychological and emotional preparation in advance.
This is what all of us must do now, to prepare for the winter ahead of us and beyond. We are in a war, and in a war there are mass casualties. We, like so many other societies around the world and throughout history, are going to have to endure the death of family and friends, and we will have to endure this within the context of a collapsing culture, which will hit all of the institutions we have previously relied upon for stability and security - employers, supermarkets, hospitals, schools. We are going to see the infrastructure of our society as decimated as in any conventional war - and we are going to have to cope. People always have throughout history and we can, and we will, and we must, too.
This is not the time to say, "I can't handle any of this, it's all too much," and look for a shoulder to cry on, any more than it would be if you were a soldier in a war. You ARE a soldier in a war and you have a duty, which includes not demoralising your comrades by being a burden rather than an asset. Everyone has had enough time to prepare for this battle now (a luxury that often hasn't been afforded to societies past when they're plunged into war. The summer of 1939, for example, was completely normal and nobody had the slightest idea that within weeks the slaughter of millions would begin), and so while it was understandable that in the first few months of 2020, the shock and the loss caused a lot of people to stumble and perhaps require more emotional support than usual - that time is over. Nobody has the spare resources to prop other capable adults up any more, because all of our resources must go into fighting and winning this war (especially since the enemy is now targeting children).
We (all of us living in modern Western societies) have had it incredibly easy by all historical standards and it has made many of us psychologically flabby and emotionally weak. We're not prepared for real hardship and loss because we have never really had to deal with it - not in the way so many societies historically have. We have been cosseted this way by design, to ensure that when real hardship is thrown at us - as it is imminently about to be - we don't have the personal resources and inner strength to cope. The orchestrators of all this know just how to "farm" human beings, and they are counting on the fact that many, even 'awake' people, will throw their hands up in helplessness and say "no, this is too much, I give up" - as many zoo animals would if they were suddenly reintroduced into the wild.
It is imperative that we don't play into their hands by reneging on the challenge in front of us. None of us came into this world promised an easy, or even a happy and fulfilling life. There are no promises made about what one's life will be like. All we can do is build resources and play to the best of our abilities the hand we are dealt. Yes, this is a particularly tough hand - but why shouldn't it be? You might say, "why me, why now?" - but why not?
So in the last few weeks of relative calm and normality in front of us, we must all do everything we can to pull ourselves together and build resources and strength for the fight ahead of us. Which, again, we can and we will and we must win. But only if we take our duties and responsibilities seriously, stop expecting other people to save us, and fight back. If my 25-year-old grandfather could endure such war and hardship and tragedy without breaking, then we can too.
No more excuses. Stand up, stay strong, and fight.