Normal transmission will not be resumed

Updated: Nov 2

If this is your first visit, welcome, this is the place I think out loud about networks. If you’re back for another slice, here is a meditation on what covid is teaching us.

Today is Wednesday 28 October, and Melbourne is coming out of lockdown. Normal transmission will not be resumed. Not right now. Maybe not ever, that’s as may be, but right now, Melburnians are in collective trauma, and the rest of us in regional Victoria are feeling that.

It’s easy to get a bit snakey in regional Victoria, with Melbourne holding things back. Or to feel a bit superior. But we’ve all got friends and kin in Melbourne. We feel a bit of what it's been like for them.

It’s collective trauma, says Kate Brady, a research fellow in community resilience at Melbourne University, in a piece in The Conversation. There are five things that people coming out of trauma need, and the first of them is that they don’t need people who haven’t actually been through what they've been through saying, kind-heartedly enough: ‘I know how you feel’.

The same five things apply to people who just got burnt out or flooded out or who've just shot all their sheep.

Melanie Tait said it concisely in a tweet:

I kinda feel like anyone who has an opinion on what it's like to be Victorian right now should shut up unless they actually live in Victoria.

A collective trauma. It got me thinking about the way covid is pushing us into awareness of what human company does. Remember human company, the way it used to be, sitting at the kitchen table for a brew, arriving without a mask, dropping in? Or standing in the street catching up. Meeting to decide something, maybe something difficult out, but face-to-face, with other living breathing feeling thinking human beings.

Such a carefree interactions. What is it, that we’ve had to forgo? That will tell us something of what's essential for our human life. And now is the time Victorians will feel that anew, as they come out of lockdown.

A lifetime ago, in June, I suggested on this blog that when we eventually came out of lockdown, it might be smart to think about who you sit down with, and not let your schedule be squeezed dry with all the necessary business of running a life, and make sure you put in nice fat slabs of time with the company you crave.

I didn’t realise then just how long and hard lockdown was going to be. I think it’s still good advice, to be thoughtful of the conversations we start up now, but right now seems to be the time to feel what's happening as we reengage, and to understand what has been happening as we've had to stay away from each other. What does this tell us about how we’re made?

What we had to put on hold and do without is starting to come back. We come alive in the interplay of beings gathered to eat a meal together, or walking with around the home paddock with a friend, and even, yes, in a real meeting, where we are more than talking heads on a flat screen.

We’ll each do our own sensing on this one and come up with different things. For me, today, I’d say it’s something to do with the feeling of being held in social space. I’m looking forward to more of that. I’ve gone a bit loopy, having mainly myself to talk to, and my partner. Conversations on the phone are a lifeline, but without having real people in front of me some of the time, those phone conversations get hollowed out.

And I’ve gone a bit loopy having suspicion present in every human encounter outside the home. These masked faces, these muffled voices.

I’m looking forward to feeling the tendrils of human beings, funny creatures that we are, winding ourselves into each other’s lives again.

Ross Colliver, Organiser for CLEA

Photo credit Tim Mossholder on Unsplash