It’s one world NOW, huh?

“Dance” by Henri Matisse, 1909

I never paid much attention to this Matisse painting until recently when I added it to my screen saver collection. I now see that Matisse’s dancers are all women. Good. That’s the stuff of a one-world mind, because men are feudal. Women are the more evolved half of humanity. I’m not kidding.

In a pandemic, everyone is responsible for everyone else in the world. Everyone fights for everyone to win. If they don’t do it together, it cannot be done. The virus will continue to flourish. We walk and stand together or fall down together. Frankly, that’s a scary thought.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T ALL WASH OUR HANDS. Photo: Spencer Tunick Arrow To Washington, NYC, 1995


We fight a virus-driven pandemic of respiratory illness at the same time we fight the endless epidemic of merely political “leaders.” They don’t lead so much as push.

Sadly, we are not doing mass diagnostic virus testing across the population, not even on a sampling basis, so we have no idea how many people are carrying the virus, and proportionately where. We know how many people report symptoms, how many are treated or hospitalized, how many die, and we know that entire basketball teams got tested instantly, while we were told (and still are) that there were not enough test kits.

Meanwhile, the Buffoon in the Oval Room assures us ad nauseam that we are the greatest virus fighting country ever known in the history of the universe. Then he lies again about what is being done, swearing seven thousand trillion bazillion test kits will be shipped three days ago and we have already tested more people than there are krill in the ocean.

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER. “Three Figures” by Thomas Hart Benton, 1916

I’m grateful for and applaud the mostly rational elements of news media and science experts who speak out and challenge the Trump Administration every day, keeping the pusher’s feet to the fire. Without The Press, we’d be doomed.

I’m grateful for those government leaders who are doing the job proactively, wisely (as far as I can tell from available reliable information), and scientifically. My state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo of New York, is doing a good job. (Of course he would be relieved to hear I think so.)

For our front line fighters of all kinds, medical, military, civil servants, grocery and pharmacy storekeepers, volunteers, donors and others, for the sick and the quarantined, and for the afraid for so many reasons, as maybe a little encouragement to hang on, to take back their lives from the strain and strife, I suggest a song.

Open yourself to a fight song for them. That makes it a compassion song, a fight to be the strongest, most loving best of yourself at this troubled time song.

Or simply let it be a passion-stirring song. What good is war without the passion of the masses?

Rachel Platten – Fight Song (with lyrics, 3:21):

“Like how a single word can make a heart open …”

“And all those things I didn’t say / Wrecking balls inside my brain”

I love those lines.

Link to this video:
Link to artist’s official music video:

We face a pandemic that may be with us for a year or more, rolling through populations in waves.

I heard from an eminent scholar, researcher, MD with a PhD in sociology (sorry, I didn’t catch his name), that the patterns suggest a possible major wave in October and November. If that happens, there is real risk that Trump will use it to prevent the November election, no matter what it takes, even martial law, in name of national security, because he does not intend to leave office even if voted out. What will we do to prepare for that attack on the world?

I heard another leading expert say that this virus (SARS-CoV-2, causing the disease named COVID-19) probably will be with us for many years, like a flu, but worse than flu. As with flu, even if we create a vaccine for this new virus, it can still be dangerous for generations to come. Despite the flu vaccine, we still have scores of thousands of deaths from flu every year in the US, and the new virus is more deadly and more contagious. The fight is probably permanent. Will the existing rampant denials of science among those in power see it that way? Does it matter if you vote?

IS THAT RAND PAUL IN THE POOL? “Bathers” by Raoul Dufy, 1908

Maybe you don’t need a rally cry, a fight song, to do your part, or this is the wrong song for you. Maybe it makes you a more rational person than me. Probably does. That’s a good thing. But I don’t think I’m hurting anything.

Illustration 1 in The Madman by Kahlil Gibran, 1918 (coincidentally, the year of the Flu Pandemic that killed 50 million people)

Setting aside the pain of this pandemic, or imagining it as a sort of global birth pain, imagine the possibilities it can open for us, possibilities for a new beginning. It begins with a forced shift of perspective from many little worlds to one world. It begins with a microscopic thing leveling the playing field, leaving the nations all uncontrollably vulnerable, leaving us no better than anyone else, no matter how much wealth or power we have.

After hearing for half a century ceaseless arrogant claims that my country has the greatest medical care in the world (what good is it if so many people can’t afford it?), we are stumbling around with our pants around our ankles before the microscopic teacher.

I’ve been calling it a war as most others tend to do. It is also a school.

WHY STAY 6 FT APART WHEN THE WIND IS BLOWING? “Bathers in the Reeds” by Erich Heckel, 1910

Even with a trillion dollar military budget we are brought low by our foolishness in how we did not prepare for something we knew would happen. During the Trump administration, the one that willfully dismantled the pandemic crisis preparation team, our government experts formally reported this kind of thing was on its way. Yet he discards the truth, saying again and again that he fixed the broken system, and created the one needed for this crisis. He broke the system.

The time to get ready for war is not after the war starts.

This enemy makes guns of us, aimed at ourselves, our biggest enemy. Maybe our foolishness will be the thing that drastically reduces the population, as with climate change that we refuse to prepare for even long after it became plainly evident.

What will this tiny bit of virus RNA teach us about ourselves? The possibilities are exciting. And scary. It’s the kind of scary that radical new beginnings bring.

Tracy Chapman – New Beginning (Official music video):

The imagery in the first ten seconds of the song are “right out of pandemic-struck one-world.”

Link to this video:

We can break the cycle – We can break the chain
We can start all over – In the new beginning
We can learn, we can teach
We can share the myths the dream the prayer
The notion that we can do better
Change our lives and paths
Create a new world

[Tracy Chapman did another rendition of this song (link to YouTube video) at a concert in Paris.  It is all electric, not acoustic guitar, a more driven beat, and she plays the didgeridoo!]

Congratulations and admiration for South Korea and Taiwan in their handling of the virus. I wish top members of their pandemic teams could come over and give a lecture to a joint session of Congress. The biggest thing they did right was to maintain advance preparation as a national imperative. They were ready.

The nature of our modern world makes pandemics endemic. The leading experts say it will happen again, and likely more often. We will need reserves of everything it takes to fight a war of this kind, more widely distributed than our armies.

Shifting away from war talk, the next song encourages one-world thoughts and feelings. It is by people who don’t look like those who rule the world. The songs produced by this organization can uplift people of conscience and call to those on the brink of it, without shaming the rest. They are peaceful, happy, and inspiring.

Over seventy musicians from around the world join to sing Guantanamera together. Shown with lyrics in English, and a fun, beautiful video. (7:40)

Link to video:

… “Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. Our primary focus is to record and film musicians performing in their natural environments and combine their talents and cultural power in innovative videos we call Songs Around The World.”

They have a strong one-world mind, and they inspire it. That is their mission, their purpose, their passion. They don’t need a destructive microscopic teacher, nor a war. They teach by example, with music and video, in a beautiful, amazing way.

I have 78 of their productions on a YouTube playlist. Start it, let it run, and they’ll take you around and around and around the world. They do it in every song. You can pick one song at a time from the playlist, so you don’t get dizzy running the whole thing. The songs they perform are among the greatest of our time.

Back in 2015, when Buddy, The Prince of Balsamea died after eight years in that role, I wrote about what it meant for him to be gone but still here, how I was his afterlife. This is an excerpt of it:

I believe this is a realistic view of afterlife. It makes more sense to me than to believe that Buddy is “up” in a fictional Doggy Heaven watching me living the life of Balsamea, a life he lived, loved, and lost even before he died. That would not make him or me happy at all. No, his afterlife is here, alive in a new existence, but not as the soul that died and is gone. We make the deceased immortal, as ourselves and what we become, and not merely in memory. We are their afterlife.

I will not be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 (the official name of the virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – CoronaVirus-associated, 2nd “novel” version) coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19. I will remain comfortably and happily isolated for as long as it takes to prevent my picking it up and spreading it around.

“Three girls and a boy,” sculpture by Wilfried Fitzenreiter on Spree River wall in Berlin, 1988

Great from every angle.

When the virus is done doing its thing, I will still be here. Almost all of us will, and we will work through the problems of the afterlife that the virus leaves us: us. After the dead are buried, we are their afterlife, the life they left in us. What will we do with ourselves, with the gift of being their afterlife?

Why wait? Start now.

Crises bring out the best in reasonable people. That’s a great time to transform this “bringing out” kind of energy into action of any good kind.

Make the afterlife of this pandemic-stricken world better than life before the pandemic, not so much by striving to “do better,” but by doing what matters most to you right now, letting loose the “best of you” energy that comes in times of crisis.

“I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU WEAR AS LONG AS YOU STAY 6 FT AWAY.” “Summer Idyll” by Pekka Halonen, 1931

A related thought: we could start planning parades and festivals all over the world to celebrate the end of the pandemic. Why not prepare and be ready for THAT when it comes? Ready to celebrate!

This idea was inspired by seeing again last night more video of Spaniards and British (no doubt there are others) coming out of isolation in their homes to applaud and cheer the medical workers, night after night.

Help them survive by lending them our hearts to thrive. That compassion for them has been aroused by the pandemic, one of the special energies we can carry into the world’s post-pandemic afterlife.

Copyright 2020 TheBalsamean.comIt has always been one world. We have this pandemic opportunity to see it better, and to see ourselves in unity with it.

Why wait until it’s over? Be survivors now. Claim the afterlife of the biggest pandemic in the history of the one world we’ve got. Claim your individual afterlife, too. Release that “best of you” energy that crisis brings. Be the afterlife.

Below: Ingrid Michaelson – Afterlife (with lyrics, 4:01):

Favorite line: “Give me your cold hands put them on my heart”

Link to this video:
Link to artist’s official music video:
I enjoyed the way Ingrid applied the song in the official music video. It is about helping others overcome social and emotional limitations.

When the world is breaking down around you
Taking everything that you know
What you didn’t know
Is that we can go forever if we want to
We can live inside of a moment
The one that we own

You and me we got this
You and me we’re beautiful, beautiful

We all, we all, we’re gonna be alright
We got, we got, we always got the fight in us
We all, we all, we’re gonna live tonight
Like there’s no tomorrow cause we’re the afterlife

Living like you’re dying isn’t living at all
Give me your cold hands put them on my heart
Raise a glass to everyone who thinks
They’ll never make it through this life
To live a brand-new start

You and me we got this
You and me we’re beautiful, beautiful

We all, we all, we’re gonna be alright
We got, we got, we always got the fight in us
We all, we all, we’re gonna live tonight
Like there’s no tomorrow cause we’re the afterlife
Cause we’re the afterlife
Cause we’re the afterlife

Every time I close my eyes I hear your favorite song
Telling me not to run, not to worry anymore
I can hold on tight to nothing better than the rest
So it’s now or never more

We all, we all, we’re gonna be alright
We got the fight in us
We all, we all, we’re gonna live tonight
Like there’s no tomorrow cause we’re the afterlife

We all, we all, we’re gonna be alright
We got, we got, we always got the fight in us
We all, we all, we’re gonna live tonight
Like there’s no tomorrow cause we’re the afterlife
Cause we’re the afterlife
Cause we’re the afterlife

We all, we all, we’re gonna be alright
We got, we got, we always got the fight in us
We all, we all, we’re gonna live tonight
Like there’s no tomorrow cause we’re the afterlife

~ ~ ~