Where’s the new topic?


When almost four years ago I posted a blog for the very first time as the Experienced Beginner, my primary motivation was fueled by a desire to check-in with the world and say “I’m still alive”. As a person who, to this very day, has no personal account on Facebook, or even Instagram, it is not an easy fact to prove at times.  

There were no higher ambitions to my activity. Simply put, I observed the world around me, I was attracted by the news and events that were out of the ordinary, as well as those that appeared normal. But what all of the news did was make me see more, observe more, feel more and then comment with a caveat that it is just my two cents – not pretending to interpret what it is all about. I wasn’t motivated by the number of people who might read the post, though I must admit that I was always glad to see comments and opinions shared on the topic I digested. 

And for the better part of three years following the first blog, I was doing well. If for no other reason, I proved to myself that I am indeed alive. 

While writing this, I am aware it is almost a year since the last post on Experienced Beginner. And I can come up with a series of reasons and excuses why the pause was as long. One of these, without a doubt, is Covid. If Covid was a universal excuse for everything and anything in the past two years, why not use it as a justification for my pause in writing.

I know the logical first reaction to reading the foregoing line will be: “Oh come on, please try to come up with something more credible”. While it may sound like a cheap trick, or an easy excuse, it really is the truth. Here is why…

For the past two years there was almost no other topic in the world. Covid has gone from some unimportant disease in Wuhan, in a remote part of China, to a global pandemic that overnight stopped the life on our planet, becoming a leading criteria and universal excuse for all the decisions rendered – starting at the top with governments and global systems, and then trickling down to individuals.

In that context, writing about some other topics seemed pointless to me. And this had nothing to do with the number of people reading the post, as this was never the motivation behind writing, but suddenly all topics seemed to be covid-related. Somehow, I also accepted that if the topic is not connected to Covid, it will not make much sense as a blog post. Just like most of us, I entered the “waiting-for-the-storm-to-pass” hibernation.

And then Ukraine happened – the Russian invasion overnight questioned the entire political and economic global order. No one knows how this crisis is going to develop and where it all leads. What we know in this moment is that we entered a whole new world for which we don’t have the script or outline yet. What we know for certain is that this will not be just a passing phase. We are witnessing the end of a historic period that spanned for decades.  

But this is not the topic we are going to be dealing with. What is in the focus is how practically overnight one global topic just took over the first place from another. Instead of Covid, we now have the omnipresent topic of Ukraine. This happened so quickly and radically that Covid suddenly became part of ancient history. We don’t track how many people are getting infected or how many died from Covid, and majority of media is not even covering the topic on a regular basis, just occasionally. We might hear about Shanghai being in full lockdown, as Covid made a triumphant return there, but the world is not particularly upset about this type of news anymore. Who has the time of day to deal with Covid when the war is raging in Ukraine, and who even remembers the global lockdown of cities and entire countries during the pandemic? 

To be frank, some things remained the same as in Covid. Uncertainty and fear of what the new day may bring are still present, and they feed the sense of helplessness that leads to lethargy and apathy. It seems we adjusted to the new global crisis in a more efficient manner and came to terms with the fact that there is nothing we can do to fix it. 

The only thing that remains is the demonstration of activism over social media. Just like in corona times, the media cacophony attracts the biggest attention in quarrels around who supports whom. No novelty here if we are being honest. All is too familiar – the more radical the divide, the more attention is gained. And that is the actual cause – no risk for the informant, the vocal protagonists, opinion leaders and know-it-alls who are well hidden behind their devices and screens fighting for their version of the truth without leaving the comfort of their sofas and beds. Yesterday it was about Covid, today it is about Ukraine, tomorrow it will be about some-thing or some-one that comes along.

Is the only thing that remains to wait for the next global topic to swap places with Ukraine in the same manner Ukraine dethroned Covid? And is the only hope that this new topic will actually end the war in Ukraine just like the war ended the pandemic?

Unfortunately, we all know it’s possible.

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