The benefits of doing nothing

Lessons from Freud on Covid-19 burnout

The death drive is not the opposition of our life drive. It's the inevitable consequence of an unchecked life drive, both in individuals and in society. Amid the enforced inactivity of the Covid-19 lockdown we have a chance to reflect on who we are and who we want to be. 

I’m writing this from my youngest child’s bedroom, requisitioned for the period of lockdown as a makeshift daytime office. It faces the garden, from which a daily chorus of birdsong, no longer muffled by the noise of busy roads and skies, is ringing out with a startling new clarity.

When I venture outside, the visibility of White City’s new tower blocks and the street’s trademark notes of spring flowers and marijuana have been sharpened by weeks of dramatically reduced traffic pollution. My enhanced sense of smell brings new intensity in turn to the taste of food. Even the sense of touch seems charged by my restrictive caution towards almost everyone and everything outside my own home.

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