We Are Not Shakespeare in Quarantine (eBook)
Ideas, practical recommendations, and reflections about being in lockdown
When the Covid-19 quarantine lockdown began, the always extreme positivists of social networks began to spread memes to make everybody feel better.
“Shakespeare wrote his best plays under quarantine”.
“Newton developed calculus under quarantine”.
There are a lot of positive things about positive psychology, of course. I use it as a tool when practicing psychotherapy or coaching. But positive psychology without data is negative for your mental health. Positive psychology must be based on reality. Positive psychology is made to change a stuck negative point of view about our lives, not to provoke a negative response, worse than the problem it tried to solve.
Any clinical psychology, any psychotherapy, any coaching, must avoid comparisons. Comparing us to Shakespeare or Newton didn’t make us feel better but the contrary.
Some began to answer the memes:
“I guess Shakespeare didn’t have children to take care during quarantine”.
“Did Shakespeare write King Lear before or after doing remote work for his employer?”
“Did Newton wash dishes and clean the house while thinking about calculus?”.
Humanity failed to predict a new virus outbreak as much as predicting how life was going to be under lockdown. It has been hard.
There is no event in the history of humanity like this coronavirus pandemic. None. Scientists knew that the ingredients for a noticeably big outbreak were set human mobility like any other time since humans habit the face of earth. There were even plans for the contention of the pandemic, which means, there were plans for the first two or three months of the pandemic. No one thought about what could happen more than that. No one thought about what could happen with the consequences of the pandemic: the socio-political and economic crisis we are living in.
No one thought about that because no one could imagine it. Yes, imagination has limits.
Think about the movie Independence Day, The War of the Worlds, or any other about extraterrestrial invasion. Humanity defends itself from extraterrestrials. Most people stay secure at home or in refuges. Some fight against the invaders. Time passes but as spectators or readers we only follow the plot about the battle for independence or the war against the enemy. We don’t see what happens to people at home or refuges. We missed the lockdown life under interplanetary war.
While the protagonists fight against extraterrestrials, who goes to the supermarket for toilet paper? Who is still working to secure money for the family? How do food and other supplies continue distribution from producers to homes? Do the kids keep school via Zoom?
And the most important question, who writes a tragic play or develops calculus during an extraterrestrial invasion?
Anne Frank wrote her diary during lockdown. My eldest daughter loves to write. She writes fiction. Lockdown could be a good moment to develop her writing. But Ana Frank didn’t have to videoconference all morning — yes, from 8 am to 2 pm — taking high school classes and use her afternoons and evenings doing homework and preparing for exams. My daughter did.
We are not Shakespeare or Newton under quarantine or Anne Frank in lockdown. We are doing our best and that’s it.
As an author, I wrote and published fewer articles in April, when the hard part of the lockdown began for our family. I have felt frustrated because of the lack of productivity and subsequent income. But, at the same time, I haven’t done more effort in all my life to keep home going on. I’m proud of how the family has responded to the situation.
Of course, the topics changed for almost every writer and author. How could you not talk in some way about the pandemic, the lockdown, or the crisis? Almost anything you write about has been in some way affected by recent events. Every time I start writing, the lockdown ghost gets into my words.
To my surprise, the day a friend asked me to share the articles I have written about it, I noticed how much I have published about the topic. “I can compile a book!”, I thought. And here they are, all the articles until now, I have written about our change of life after the quarantine.
This is not King Lear or Macbeth. You will not find the development of a new calculus. Just some ideas, practical recommendations, and reflections about being at home.
I have divided the book into three sections: Life, Work, and Future. Sometimes I write more as a psychotherapist and coach. That is under Life. The texts about remote work, business and productivity are in the Work section. The more analytical, sometimes philosophical texts are in Future.
The 18 articles were published before in Medium, UX Collective, The Startup, Age of Awareness, and Apparatum —and they are still available on those publications. Minimum modifications were made. Links and references were sent to the end of each chapter.
You can choose to read them one by one on Medium or have all the articles on your ebook reader at once.
I hope these articles work as a companion in these times of crisis. We are not Shakespeare in quarantine. But we are not alone either.