What caught me by surprise was how quickly I’d lost touch with all the nuances of whole-body presence that, once upon a time (was it really only twenty months ago?), we routinely read and responded to in any of scores of encounters on any given day…
…the lesson of history that I'd so reluctantly distilled was, in effect, to organise the Australian vaccine rollout as if it were a practice of pacification and counterinsurgency. That is, to follow the style of colonial militarisation from which ‘ordinary’ public health had derived over a century ago...
‘This is a crisis’ is not a mere empirical observation that can be unproblematically represented in a semantic act. Instead, ‘This is a crisis’ is a logical observation—it is a claim. And it is, moreover, a conceptual claim.
On Australia’s present trajectory, the rich will be massively enriched, the well-off will be better off, and the costs of the pandemic will fall on the rest of the population. But the scope for radical change has rarely been greater.
The pandemic very likely is the result of development pressing into once wild places and disturbing achieved balances between nature and human settlement, development that has been fuelling worldwide consumption and a disconnection from nature at an ever-accelerating pace.
Bowtell’s story is wrapped in a larger view of the relationship between science and politics. Crudely put, he sees science as good and true, and politics as compromised and bad. Science should trump politics in a pandemic.
…for the first time in my adult life, we Amero-Europeans ceased to gaze out at the world with our usual mixture of transient humanitarianism and inactive charitableness and instead became the subject of a sorrowful gaze from elsewhere.