People are Asking. So, What Do You Think?
In recent days I've run into a recurring question - in telephone conversations, while getting a haircut and in a pollster's online surveys. People, it seems, want to know when the pandemic is over whether we'll get "back to normal."
On its face the question seems a bit absurd. It assumes the existence of a form of stasis that defines what once was as normal when humanity in modern times is in a constant state of change. We tend to quickly forget what once was and substitute the present as normal. There's a term for it, creeping normalcy.
I guess the question should be, once the pandemic is behind us, how closely will daily life resemble what that was in early January, 2020? Will we emerge greatly changed or somehow find our way back to what once was?
My guess is that most will carry on in a more or less altered reality. Some, those who succumbed to the virus, won't be around at all. Some will have lost family members. Some may find their pre-pandemic employment gone through automation, robotics or just the failure of their former employer. Some may return to the office or plant while some will continue to work from home. Some will be in less secure, more precarious financial straits. There are so many ways in which we may emerged changed that it seems hard to imagine a return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
If our political leaders are sincere (don't hold your breath) we will all be swept up in the Herculean effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions by half or more by 2030. That's an immense degree of change within a breathtakingly brief interval.
What do you think. Will there be a reasonable facsimile of the old normal when this is over? If not, how will we be changed? What will our next normal be like?