“Recovery Or Regrowth — Is This Not The Real Post Pandemic Question?”

Paul Adam Mudd
Mar 24 · 9 min read
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Autopoiesis, tells us that people are only interested in what they are interested in. (1.)

What If?

What if nothing is different when the surge cedes, the waves abide and fewer and fewer of us are touched by this remorseless virus?

I have written in another recent piece how the brain is hardwired towards a negativity bias.

A bias that means we react more viscerally to bad news and leads us to fundamentally misrepresent the world around us, believing it to be significantly worse than it really is

The brain is most complex organisation of matter that we know of in the universe. With more neurons and synaptic connections than stars in the Milky Way, it is truly a wonderful thing.

Yet day-in and day-out we are assailed by what the WHO identified back in 2011 as a modern plague i.e. noise pollution — Activating the brain’s amygdala , causing the release of Cortisol and raising our stress levels.

And over the past 12 months plus we have had a global pandemic to contend with too, with stark increases in levels of depression, stress and anxiety.

We’re on overload!

And The Consequence?

Consequently, we have become increasingly curmudgeonly, weary, resigned. Motivation has dwindled, energy flat-lined, our confidence zapped and those happy bedfellows, purpose and resolve, have packed their bags and upped-sticks.

So, are we now up for doing what needs to be done? To do the thinking that needs to be thought. To find the language that we now need to craft, understand and use to find our way through the granularity of this crisis and move beyond.

And to make the choices and take the decisions that now we must?

Decision Time?

Heraclitus of Ephesus is known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe. He believed that there is a rational reason for all things and that this impacts the order of the Universe.

Viewed in this context the current pandemic is rational. A natural phenomenon. One in a long and incessant line of pandemics that we have had to find a way to live with and endure over time, because they are the rule, not the exception!

And this virus is doing what any virus will do — It’s mutating, this is part of its natural life cycle, and “Ill-informed discussions of mutations thrive during virus outbreaks” which is exactly what we’re seeing with SARS-CoV-2.

Mutations aren’t necessarily a bad thing though, and can lead to a weaker virus, or be so slight that there’s no noticeable difference in the disease’s transmission and fatality rates.

Don’t let’s lose hope and wallow too long in that “slough of despond.”

We should always be aware that what now lies in the past, once lay in the future.” Frederick William Maitland

Science can enrich our understanding of our complex world, it cannot tell us right from wrong, so as the virus stems from nature, perhaps the inspiration and direction for our way back can be found in nature too. Through regeneration and regrowth, rather than recovery.

Using our natural ability to endure, survive, innovate and create a new tide of possibilities to be taken on the flood.

Sun Shining On Rain, Rain Falling On Sunshine

Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852) was a pioneer of early childhood education and the inventor of kindergartens.

His aim was for children to grow like flowers in a garden. Tended, nurtured, pruned when necessary, but not forced.

As we now re-grow can we aspire to improvise freely in the manner of a Vermeer, a De Hooch, or a Frans Hals painting, aging the confection of our lives with rust and leaves?

There’s something about the advent of Spring that puts to mind thoughts of wellness and wellbeing, of growth, regrowth and renewal.

A time when days get longer.

A time when life Springs back. The sap rises. Our footings are surer. A new vibrancy and vitality abounds. Things sparkle.

It’s the end of the line for winter vegetables such as kale, swedes and parsnips, whilst shrubs that have wintered well, become a blast of burgundy fire, or take on a soothing aqua hue.

A Clematis armandii flowers and we notice a scent of marzipan, just there, hanging in the air as we pass.

And in Europe birds that have migrated south in the Autumn escaping the bitter conditions further north, depart signalling the end of winter.

So, a ceaseless landscape of possibilities unfolds for reimagining, redoing, and rebecoming, as we move beyond winter’s rain and ruin, and into a season of endings and more importantly beginnings.

A time to look forward with optimism. A time which the Russian American novelist Valdimir Nabokov once described as, “nostalgia in reverse.” — A longing for something fresh, new, different that grows especially strong in Spring!

Change Is Central To The Universe

Change may feel like a bowl of jelly without the bowl, shaking, shivering, quivering, wobbling, wibbling, to maintain some sense of shape and form.

But it is a constant.

This has never been the time for short-termism, or quick fixes which are never certain to be the right fixes when nothing is certain.

Things may feel too overwhelming, complex and difficult, but COVID_19 is nothing if not a catalyst for change that can cancel out inertia, or the tendency to revert to a ‘business as usual’ attitude.

And it may feel that we make it up as we go along, but that is the nature of reality and this reality will change shape and meaning because of what we now do.

In a piece written on the 4th July 2020 I described the three psychological phases of a crisis — Namely:

· The Emergency phase

· The Regression Phase, &

· The Recovery Phase

However, in that piece I also asked whether we needed another phase added into the mix and this was a Reinvention Phase. A phase before Recovery where we could stop, restart and create a new day one. A new beginning. A new story.

I want now to go a step further — In fact, I want to suggest that to talk of Recovery, is misleading because it implies that maybe we’re expecting things to simply return to how they were. So, we cling onto to what we’ve known because it’s way too difficult to let go. Or, we just can’t let ourselves believe that things can be different, or dare we even say it, better.

Recovery versus Regrowth?

Existing problems are locked into old language. This shapes prevailing thought, but we can’t let the limits of our language be the limits of our world.

Perhaps it’s time for a new realism which would be better served by creating and using a new and different language — Namely, one of Regrowth.

The word Recovery and what that implies, is not the right way to approach, make sense of, and now move forward and beyond our current circumstances.

Some things are just not going to be recovered, and it will be so many of those things we only all too recently loved and enjoyed that will no longer be available.

They will be lost to us or are already lost to us forever.

Of Divine Proportions

Have you ever looked at a pencil and wondered why it doesn’t roll off the table?

It’s because it’s hexagonal, which also makes it easier to hold.

Hexagons are everywhere. They are one of the most efficient geometrical shapes that can cover a curved surface.

A beehive is a mass of hexagons tightly packed together, with each hexagon because of its shape providing the optimum packing efficiency.

A bubble raft — The array of bubbles packed together at the surface of soapy water is predominately made up of hexagonal shaped bubbles, making it all the better for as many bubbles as possible to sit together.

Snowflakes are hexagonal too.

And if we turn our gaze upwards towards the sky, and if we were able to observe the North Pole of Saturn from space, we would see that the cloud formation over the planet is in the shape of a hexagon.

The rectangle within a Hexagon is based on the square root of 3, and the ‘Golden Ratio’ or ‘Golden Number’ 1.618 is found not just throughout nature, but also in art, architecture and design.

It is considered one of the core principles of aesthetic beauty, and Renaissance artists called it, ‘The Divine Proportion’.

Think Hexagon

Regrowth rooted in You, Me, I, We. We all need to be Agents of Regrowth!

And Regrowth with the resilience, exactness, practicality and strength of a Hexagon. But also, with a suppleness, pliancy and agility that can work with the jagged edges of the complexity we face.

So, in this new Spring of 2021 let us start:

  • Having Conversations — That change the way we talk about the world, in order to change the way we see the world. For example, when a CEO wants to transform a company, they must first change the language of that company. And every conversation will have its time and its place because, as in nature “How many things by seasons are season’d, to their right praise and true perfection.” William Shakespeare, ‘The Merchant Of Venice’.
  • Recognising — That people are only interested in what they are interested in, so as we lead with compassion we must also listen with compassion, practice really listening and not only hear what we want to hear.
  • Thinking Differently — To cohere, challenge the unchallengeable, avoid the ‘easy answers’ trap, gain crucial insights about what is possible, and create a new and courageous landscape; &
  • Building A New Architecture — With a new realism and compassion, think relationships, think community, and think networks to translate that landscape of possibilities into new and enduring patterns of organisation (verb).

This is now the time to find a new way to think about everything, so we must not let the most thought-provoking thing in these thought-provoking times be that we are still not thinking!

And –

“When that April, with its showers sweet, the drought of March hath pierced to the very roote and bathed every vine in such liquor of which virtue engendered is the flower.” Geoffrey Chaucer, General Prologue, The Canterbury Tales, circa 1387.

(1.) ‘Navigating Complexity’, Arthur Battram, Industrial Society, 1998, pg. 248

What Next

A short video providing further information will be available from early May 2021, together with client testimonials.

“Hope is not a conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing, no matter how it turns out” Vaclav Havel

About The Author

He is also a Trusted Adviser, Leadership Provocateur, Savvy Thinker, International Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Mindfulness Author, Global Well Being & Well Doing Influencer, & Co-Founder and Director of the Mudd Partnership

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Paul Adam Mudd

Written by

I’m About Making The Complex Less Complex, The Tough Stuff Not So Tough & Like Archimedes Finding A Place To Stand | Huff Post, Thrive Global & Medium Writer

Thoughts And Ideas

An attempt to bring all heart-touching and thought provoking writings under one roof to make an impact.

Paul Adam Mudd

Written by

I’m About Making The Complex Less Complex, The Tough Stuff Not So Tough & Like Archimedes Finding A Place To Stand | Huff Post, Thrive Global & Medium Writer

Thoughts And Ideas

An attempt to bring all heart-touching and thought provoking writings under one roof to make an impact.

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