“Viruses are not designed to damage or kill their hosts. The point of a virus is life, not death. Because viruses need living cells to reproduce over time, they have developed transmission strategies that make the finding of living hosts quick and efficient. Ideally, a pathogenic virus will enter a living system and have sufficient time to make many copies of itself before it is eliminated by the host’s immunological defenses. The virus survives and the host survives. That’s the model. The problem with pathogenic viruses — especially those hosts have not encountered before — is that, in the system’s efforts to find, and develop a means of neutralizing the virus, the state of the body is changed, sometimes beyond the point at which the body (especially weakened bodies) can remain alive. Consequently, it’s not the virus that kills, it’s the body’s reaction to the virus that kills.

The COVID-19 virus is special but not for the reason that most people think. Its infection of our bodies is nothing noteworthy as viruses go. But COVID-19 has also infected our cultures, our economics, and our politics, worldwide. It’s a virus and it’s a meme. In order to reduce the inferred levels of mortality in at-risk individuals our societies have reacted in unprecedented ways, by mandating the shut down of economic and cultural activities, curtailing the individual (and increasingly legal) rights of citizens, and by forcing both individuals and family groups into physical isolation for an, as yet, unspecified time interval. It remains to be seen whether these societal reactions will be sufficient to mitigate the damage the virus will inflict on human populations. In a moral sense, we have no choice but to endure them in the hope they will. But just as a body’s reaction to a pathogenic virus can leave it in a weakened state, and so susceptible to other infections that would not prove problematic had the virus not come along, the economic social and cultural reactions the COVID-19 meme has caused will leave our societal bodies in much weakened states.”

From: COVID-19 Metaphors

“For someone who has spent years immersed in narratives of collapse – believing that massive systemic change is inevitable, even desirable – I’m slightly embarrassed to discover how dismaying collapse really is. And this isn’t even proper collapse yet; more of a swift contraction. The internet is suddenly full of people knowing what to think (the end of globalisation, the vindication of socialists, the vindication of xenophobes, the start of the next great depression) and people knowing what to give (free online lessons, book recommendations, communal singing from balconies). In amongst the turning-inwards people are turning outwards.”

From: Burying a Robin – Dark Mountain

“prediction is probably most valuable to us when we are not aware we are doing it. The more conscious we are that we are making predictions, the more complicated acting on them may be. This is trivially but consequentially true whenever there is a separation of responsibilities between (a) the agent(s) generating the prediction, (b) the agent(s) responsible for choosing to act on the prediction or ignore it, (c) the agent(s) responsible for deciding how to act and (d) the agent(s) responsible for implementing the desired action responding to the prediction.”

From: The Predictioneer’s Predicament

“Meanwhile the Senate tinkered with its relief bill. The massive transfers to corporations were a given, for which 2008 now appears as a dress rehearsal. The haggling endeavored to dial in the exact size of the direct payment to citizens. It would need to restore enough aggregate demand to keep the economy breathing (a ventilator of sorts) while taking care not to give a single prole the incentive to be, in the face of a global and terrifying pandemic poised to kill millions absent assiduous measures taken by all, lazy.”

From: The Rise and Fall of Biopolitics: A Response to Bruno Latour