Various storms, and in particular Storm Emma, along with Red Weather Warnings certainly dominated our lives during the first quarter of 2018. It brought out the greatness in people as neighbours checked in on each other to ensure they were ok. This wasn’t the first time we saw this wonderful human response to crises – recall the great snow of 1982, the petrol shortages in the ‘70s, the 2008 crash and you might even remember when there were break-downs in production due to a fire or an electricity outage in your own factory or plant.
But soon we were all looking for things to get back to ‘normal’. Back to living our “I’m alright thanks” lives.
The problem is that the ‘normal’ is built on other suppositions about how people are, about how we are. Our whole society and how we are governed is built around these suppositions – that we can and should go it alone, that dependence is bad and independence is good, that our security can be achieved financially, that there must be some monetary payback for everything you do etc.
Does it have to take a crisis to show us these important lessons?
- That going it alone doesn’t work all that well.
- That dependence and inter-dependence don’t feel bad at all, and in fact feel very good.
- That insecurity can break through any financial fence.
- And that there are many other and much better paybacks for doing things than purely financial ones.
For a few days we saw it was real. We saw it in the many stories of farmers rescuing animals, people calling on neighbour’s tractors to haul stuck vehicles back on roads. We saw it in the work of the Gardai (Irish police) whose responsibilities seem boundary-less. We saw it in the work of health and other emergency servants who saw taking risks as what has to be done, as normal.
We could remember how we and others were during those days and resist going back to the so-called normal.
Otherwise it will disappear as quickly as the snow… if we let it.
But we don’t have to!
We can choose what we make ‘normal’ to mean.
Which version we will choose to live and operate by.