Why Have We Gotten So Weak?
I watched Saving Private Ryan on Netflix last night. What a classic. An All-Star classic led by Tom Hanks, it is a film that has stood the test of time.
Certainly, it was ahead of its time in terms of cinematography.
I think I last watched it in 2002 when sufficient time had elapsed to render it child friendly in the Patterson household.
It is a meandering account of life during an actual war. A visceral, harrowing account of the horrors of trench warfare.
Can you imagine what that was like?
Personally speaking, no, not really. I am sat here in my warm office. I had lentil curry for dinner, with a little leftover Christmas Cake for afters perched alongside a hot mug of tea. The biggest inconvenience that I have suffered today is the late delivery of an Amazon package.
Yes, I am confined to home in keeping with Field Marshall Johnson’s orders. However, let’s have a bit of perspective here. I am not sleeping in a pool of water, battling trench foot, fending off rats with my bayonet and reheating tea leaves in a stove. Nor do I face the imminent threat of a missile blowing me to smithereens. Basically, in relative teams, I am doing not so bad.
Wind the clock back 70 years, and this was the reality for the men at the time. Men the same age as me. Conscripted against their wishes, forced to lay their lives down in a fight they did not pick. Women left at home, bereaved and forgotten. Families destroyed.
It can be easy to forget how lucky we have had it, in our lifetimes.
I am not belittling what we are collectively going through. Over a million people have died worldwide from Covid-19. Lockdown measures are rough this time around. The impact upon the economy and regular health services has also been devastating. People are suffering.
I don’t want to get into a debate about the efficacies of lockdown measures. Suffice, however, to ask, where would we be as a society without them?
If our hospitals are full despite social distancing, hand sanitising and closure of indoor mass gathering…what could we be dealing with without these things?
Total and utter societal devastation, and obliteration of our health care system I would guess. If it intuitively feels like it will stop spreading the virus, then don’t overthink it, it probably will.
As Boris Johnson said, we are fighting an “invisible enemy”. And, no doubt, it has been hard for us all.
However, our experiences of life are all relative. The fact that we have enjoyed remarkable quality of life, civil liberty and have suffered relatively little societal trauma, all colours our perceptions of the current Covid and lockdown situations.
With the benefit of relativity;
Is it that hard to stay indoors?
So tough to have the pub closed?
Do you miss the gym that much?
My guess, is, that we have developed a societal intolerance of inconvenience. That we have become accustomed to luxury, convenience and residing in our comfort zone.
If the same society can endure the brutal hardships of war; fighting on the front line, food rations, curfews, death and conscription — then surely we must look at the existing sacrifices through the lens of perspective.
To those throwing brickbats at Government, I would suggest that this virus is not their fault. Yes, it could have been handled better — but no one wants to govern at a time like this.
To those who deny the virus, I would suggest consuming cyanide at your earliest convenience.
To those who rail at lockdown, and the infringement of our civil liberties, I would recommend watching Saving Private Ryan.
It will help you get things in perspective. You will realise how lucky we have had it on this earth so far, and how inconsequential the closure of a gym or pub is. It’s not great at the moment, I get it — but it could be a whole lot worse, our current woes feel rather frivolous relative to the sacrifices of war. Neither, of course, are necessary — but compare the qualities of our own normal lives to previous generations, and I think it is fair to say, we are doing ok.
I know, personally, there are times when I get down in the dumps. I see photos of influencers out in Dubai and am filled with a mixture of extreme envy and murderous rage. Sometimes I get glum because I can’t play golf, or meet my friends.
At these times, I am going to think of real sacrifice. Of real hardships. I am going to put Saving Private Ryan on.
And then, I am going to look at the UK vaccination statistics. And I will realise, that it won’t be long until all this is over. We are very blessed for this.
My parents are being vaccinated tomorrow, and for that, I am truly thankful.