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Who decides what’s the New Normal?

What will our new normal look like?

As we adjust to a world containing Covid19, there are many ideas about what’s going to be different and what will stay the same.

We experience whatever we’ve always called ‘normal’ as the flow of millions of interpersonal exchanges. Pre-Covid, life, more or less, went on. Then suddenly with the pandemic a significant number of our usual interactions were stopped or changed: Work from home, Keep your distance in public and so forth.

That made these interactions much more visible – they were different and everyone was talking about them. And they also revealed themselves to play an unexpected life-and-death role in our arrangements, which is ‘normally’ barely noticed. This time, governments stepped in and told us what we had to do and what we must stop doing. The power of the state – perhaps for very good reasons – suddenly became very clear. The best reason for such a public health intervention is that we know the disease follows a chain of transmission. So the policy is to break as many points of that chain as possible, until outbreaks can be contained or prevented.

Drama traditionally explores the ‘unusual’ circumstance or character or event. Now life is more dramatic (and less normal) for us all. So the explorations and re-configurations become much more apparent. In every street, you can see who are the rebels and who the conformists.

And it’s in a context of further, evolving instructions from above and from our own choices in response, that the new normal will be created. We’ll construct it together, in all sorts of contexts, bit by bit. The ‘new normal’ will fall out of the next sets of millions of interpersonal exchanges.

What are you hoping and expecting to see in your new normal?

 

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