None of this is normal. But we are in a collective denial

Julia Culen
2 min readAug 17, 2021

When I read this article: None of This is Normal. The Boiling Planet. The Pandemic. The Dying Planet. The Collapse. The Fascism. None of This is Remotely Normal by Umair Haque, I came to realize, how absurd my effort is, to go “Back to normal”. We are living through and into a time that is extreme. a 78 year old friend who has experienced decades of political, economic and environmental crises and threats, but even he says: this is different, it is worse.

But in the one ore other way we are still collectively denying it, at least I find myself in a state of denial, but I wasn’t aware of it until now : I am expecting the same level of performance, effectiveness, productivity and financial income that I used to have in times of relative stability. If i am really honest, I am desperately trying to stabilize my world, my business by making a huge effort to adapt: create online products, change to Zoom, manage live Workshops in the face of a pandemic. We cannot even plan 2 months ahead, but still I feel I need to get offerings out and things done and be successful on a certain level.

Accepting that there is no back to normal is not only frightening but also a relief.

The months of anxiety and insecurity, the relief of the vaccination, the discussions with friends, the horrific turmoils — 100s of people just died near us from a wheather catastrophy, new variants in variants emerging, Westcoast burning, Poles melting — new Corona wave building up, but we expect from ourselves to move on as if this was nothing.

No wonder I am so exhausted for “no reason”. Trying to keep up with life, go back to normal, is an immense state of denial. I don’t want to accept the fact that “none of this is normal”. I can see it in other people: it feels like the chapel continuing playing while the Titanic is sinking. Pretending everything is OK can be comforting for a while, reassuring our identity, but at the same time it prevents us to respond adequately to the challenges ahead.

Maybe one first step would be to expect less from ourselves and others, don’t be so hard on ourselves, take down the fences, practice compassion and self-compassion and stop nurturing hate, fear and separation.

And on the other side we miss out the opportunity to react as radical as we need to- protect our nature which is our future, leaving the old paradigm of growth and production at all costs. The costs are too high, the costs are our lives.