What Is the “New Normal,” Anyway?


It’s inevitable that we all want to get back to normal. But when we do, it won’t be “back.” It’s going to be a very different normal.

But… We keep hearing this phrase: “the new normal.” I suspect the people who use it the most are the ones who really get it the least. Their “new normal” wisdom seems to be mostly desperate clutching after new ways to … keep doing the same old things.

The world awaiting us on the other side isn’t about means, it’s about ends. It isn’t about how we do it so much as it is what we do. Sure, fundamentally it will always be about family and community and actualization and achievement, but when you hear that phrase ask yourself a simple question: is the speaker promoting a path to the future or the past?

Our shallow consumer capitalism, our affluenza, our greed, our feral pursuit of me instead of we – these didn’t create coronavirus. But they created the crisis.

The “new normal” has to be about building a resilient society and political economy that prepares for, deters and adapts to the seeds of crisis.

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