The Great Wounding of 2020

Photo by Žygimantas Dukauskas on Unsplash

The brilliant Nichol Bradford (from the Transformative Tech Lab) invited people online to name the current moment.

Hi there community, I’m very interested in your thoughts on what we should call this. Have been thinking of the impact of The Great Depression and how it shaped lives, mindsets, and countries. What do we call this? As it will surely be something everyon… https://t.co/T4sWNfrLdZ

- Nichol Bradford (@Nichol_Bradford) March 25, 2020

In her/their words [1]: “Because we are meaning-making machines, what we name this moment matters for how we will respond to it”. These are what people came up with:

  • the great experiment
  • the collective pause
  • the great rally
  • the great reset
  • the great leveling
  • the great equalizer
  • the great paralysis
  • the great infection
  • the global evolution
  • the great reinvention
  • the great realization
  • the great realignment
  • the great transition
  • the great shift
  • the great grounding
  • the big reset
  • the great change
  • the age of compassion
  • the lost spring
  • the slow plague
  • the invisible war
  • the great indoor
  • the great grieving
  • the great oneness
  • the great reckoning
  • the end of decadence
  • the great pause
  • the great adaptation
  • the universal time out
  • the great purification
  • the great awakening

I love “the collective pause”, and “the lost spring”: of the list these come closest to describing what is, not what we’d like it to be. ( I’m surprised no internet wag suggested “the great hindsight”. Too flippant?)

Something is missed here, though, because these words are not quite emotional enough. They’re not visceral enough for what I see us going through right now.

I think perhaps what we are going through is more like “the great wounding”. This thing cut through all our defenses and made us look at ourselves.

(Those of us who aren’t looking yet have just not been touched by it. They will be, soon.)

It made us gasp. It poked us when we were least expecting it. It has made us look to the bits that were already hurting but that we’d stopped listening to. It has pushed us through shock, then denial, and panic, and grief. It has made us recognize the pain we’d learned to live with because we told ourselves that this is the nature of the world. But this wounding showed us that those pains and scars are also wounds. We were not born with them; they were made. And that we can heal, should we so choose.

But we must so choose.

[1] In a livestream on Facebook.

Originally published at https://sensemaya.org on March 28, 2020.

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design researcher at sonicrim. i sense and work towards emergent futures. let’s make the world a place of flourishing for all life.

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Arvind Venkataramani

Arvind Venkataramani

design researcher at sonicrim. i sense and work towards emergent futures. let’s make the world a place of flourishing for all life.

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