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Richard Moult: Atu XX

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March 18, 2020. The new pandemic caused by a new virus – Covid-19, commonly called Coronavirus – has led politicians in Western societies to panic, to act on the basis of speculation rather than on the basis of verifiable data; to introduce radical restrictions on people – such as severely restricting foreign travel and closing schools, cancelling sporting events, shutting down theaters, restricting public gatherings, closing Underground Stations in London, and telling people to stay indoors on pain of arrest {1} – and to declare things such as “we are in a war against an invisible killer,” {2} and Nous sommes en guerre {3}.

The result has been the greatest disruption in Western societies since World War Two, with the attitude among politicians and many others amounting to declaring that “we are at war with Nature” amid the scramble to try and contain the spread of the virus.

The disruption and restrictions and draconian legislation are based on speculation that the new virus will have a severe mortality rate; a rate much greater than the 1% to 2% of influenza pandemics such as the one between 1968 and 1969. Hence the claim – unsupported by actual data – that there will be at least 250,000 deaths from Covid-19 in Britain alone.

Yet a study of the data currently available reveals a mortality rate of around 2% in places such as Italy and America and Britain, with many of those who died being elderly and having underlying and often serious health problems. In addition, many of those who have been infected – such as Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and David and Sally Abel, whose cases were widely reported in the media – suffered mild symptoms and recovered within a few weeks. Which recovery by so many is what a mortality rate of around 2% indicates. {4}{5}

The formulation and implementation of government policy on the basis of speculation and on the basis of a “worst case scenario”, the lack of dissent especially among politicians and journalists, and the scramble to try and contain the spread of the virus through restrictive and draconian measures, are indicative of the fact that we humans – even after a century of scientific and technological advances based on reason, scientific experimentation, and verifiable research – can still react in an irrational and fearful way and still uphold the hubriatic belief that “we are in a war” with – or should be at war with – a natural occurrence.

Which arrogant, hubriatic, belief – based on the assumptions that we are, could be, should be, masters of Earth, of Nature, and can solve all problems, environmental, political, social while remaining as we are – has led to us causing the climate change which our planet is now undergoing. It has also led to us forgetting a fundamental principle of biological life: which is that all biological beings die, and that there are natural causes over which we have no control despite what we in our hubris and egoism like to believe.

In effect, our politicians and many others have neglected or forgotten or never known certain truths, a certain wisdom. Truths, a wisdom, known for example by those with long-experience of the oceans, of the Sea: of its raw power, its unpredictability, and of how we humans can be and often are powerless when confronted with that power, that unpredictability.

Truths, a wisdom, known when some new or old disease afflicts us, and when we – or our relatives or our friends or loved ones – die from such a disease or from natural causes or from some accident of life.

That prideful, hubriatic, attitude – which overestimates our abilities and our power as biological beings who are doomed sometime, somewhere, somehow, to die – is enshrined in such slogans as “Cancer: we’re coming to get you” since we are in effect saying “Death: we’re coming to get you,” as if we can, should, somehow forestall the inevitable.

What, thus, has been and is being neglected or forgotten or never known is a simple truth known to most if not all ancestral traditions and which truth formed one of the foundations of ancient Western paganism. A truth which a modern pagan mystic expressed by quoting an expression originally in Ancient Greek: “Our ending arrives whenever wherever the Moirai [the Fates] decide.” {6}

In practical terms this truth means a rather laissez-faire – stoical – attitude to life, an attitude exemplified by the reality behind the now much maligned British phrase “stiff upper lip” and the now much satirized slogan “Keep Calm And Carry On”.

For myself, and in respect of this manufactured Covid-19 crisis, I intend to live as normal; ignoring the panic and the waffle and the fear-mongering of politicians and others.

As a pagan I am content to die when and how the Fates – the gods, the Kosmos, Nature herself – decree. Until that moment there is life, living, to be savoured and enjoyed in a life-affirming pagan way.

Richard Stirling
March 2020

{1} In France people have to have an official permit which permits them to go outside, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/world/europe/paris-coronavirus-lockdown.html

In Britain, the government has introduced legislation allowing the Police and immigration officials to arrest and place people in “appropriate isolation facilities”, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-51938879

{2} British Health Secretary Matt Hancock, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51917562

{3} President Macron of France, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/france-to-put-all-reforms-on-hold-to-focus-on-virus-macron-says

{4} Update: according to a report – March 18, 2020, 8:56 AM EDT – 99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-18/99-of-those-who-died-from-virus-had-other-illness-italy-says

{5} Regarding the 2% mortality rare, see also Radiological findings from 81 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, in the medical journal The Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30086-4/fulltext

{6} θάνατος δὲ τότ ̓ ἔσσεται ὁππότε κεν δὴ Μοῖραι ἐπικλώσωσ ̓. Attributed to Καλλίνου, as recorded by Ἰωάννης Στοβαῖος in Ἀνθολόγιον, c. 5th century CE.

The mystic in question is David Myatt who quotes the expression in several of his post-2011 writings, and whose philosophy of pathei-mathos, and his monographs Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, express the essence of ancient paganism. See also Western Paganism And Hermeticism: Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture.

Myatt’s mystical philosophy is outlined in https://wyrdsister.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/myatt-mystic-philosophy-second-edition.pdf

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