Elliptical Time

Given that this is a time where lives hang in the balance, my subjective experience of our COVID-19 era seems trivial, and expressing discomfort feels almost selfish.

Nevertheless, what I find most taxing about this time is the sense of being trapped, for an extended period of time, in a liminal moment. It’s not unlike being stuck in an airport terminal in which all the flights have been grounded until further notice.

Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves envisions a world energized and reborn through apocalypse. To face a seemingly inescapable end, Stephenson imagines, brings not panic but a kind of peace and purpose. Mortality can be an energizing force when you face it head-on.

Alas, this crisis has no defined doom, but is instead an extended ellipsis (one that tragically becomes a period for those whose lives have been cut short by it). How can we reconcile ourselves to something that will not be defined, whether that is as a challenge we can strategically overcome or as a powerful foe we cannot defeat?

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