The Birdcage Archives

Tuesday 29 December 2020

The Curiosity of Slaughter

Hello Gentle Reader 

2020 began with strong expectations. By the end of January and concluding in the final weeks of February, there were impressive impressions that life had properly adjusted into something rewarding and substantial. Gone would be the mundane ennui of the tedium and monotony of what life had become. Finally, with a career—a profession—there would be rewards to reap, purpose to have, fulfillment at long last. By the beginning of March, the peripheral pneumonic disease affecting China in January, had spread west, ripping through Iran and Italy with viral fanaticism. March became the month in which everyone understood the situation had evolved from a footnote in the east, to a certifiable global pandemic. New terms entered the language of the public domain: new reality, lockdowns, outbreaks and quarantines. Uncertainty spread faster then the disease, which had yet to make landfall; with but a few cases beginning to develop. The plan at the time to contain and disinfect, to ensure no community transmissions were taking place. Ideal, but impossible. Within weeks and months, community transmissions had taken place. Soon the definition of essential and non-essential was weighted, measured and balanced. Those deemed luxuries or convivences at best were ordered to shutter and close down for as of yet unspecified period of time. Those deemed essential were to carry on providing their products and their services. Thankfully my profession and sector of work was deemed essential, and it was business as usual. Yet with all aspects of human behaviour which is fickle and capricious, the economy quickly tanked. The uncertainty of whether or not, my new found hope in my long waited for new profession quickly fell apart. Work had all but slowed to a grinding halt. Being the newest employee meant by implication alone my head was never far from the guillotine. As other employees were laid off en masse, I was routinely spared the slaughter; though just beyond the plastic sheets and chicken wire, one could hear the butchery of the others. The outrage, the defense, the anger, the resentment. Regardless as human resources hung up their bureaucratic clever, with another life all but reduced to carnage and blood on the floor, they retreat to the shadowy recess they call their realm, only to be heard from again when they send out yet another copy and paste memo e-mail, stating the organizations response to the pandemic; never mentioning the bloodshed that had taken place earlier. Day by day, week by week, the question persisted: how long until my neck is placed on the butcher’s block. Will I to provide a defense? Show anger? Will I protest with outage? Will the aftertaste of resentment leave me embittered? Yet, day by day, week by week, my neck was spared the block; though the cleavers metallic glimmer continually flashes throughout the office. As any human resources professional would say: sometimes it is more appropriate to rule by fear, more so than anything else.
There is a curiosity with slaughter though. Call it pragmatism or opportunisms, those lined up behind the wiring intently listening to the butchery taken place out of sight in the back stages in the theatre of cruelty, beneath the malicious light of Artauds scalpel eye, a new dramatic set of events is set to unfold. All of those penned up for slaughter begin the process of treachery. Its survival now. One must save their hide for another hour, day, week or years to come. In their enclosure shoulder to shoulder, they begin their embittered battle to sustain themselves over those in the same predicament. How they clamour for air. Willing to trade another’s life to sustain their own. There are no hard feelings in these situations. Circumstances demand both sacrifice and homicide; whichever makes the culling easier. One cannot help but praise the nefarious, devious and predicable manner in which people will conduct themselves. Survival is a singular affair. Its not a communal effort. Under the correct conditions’ civility can be set aside. During the beginning of the pandemic, there were routine calls for comradery, fraternity and good will. Those notions now deemed sentimental, have been replaced by the desire and demand for singular subsistence, at the cost of those so-called brethren. As they say: when the chips are down, take your neighbours.
Since the spring there have been routine announcements listing the waves of executions. Extensive lists of names routinely laid out the recently departed. They may as well have been anonymous. Without connection or association, they meant nothing; but within those lists was always enough space for your own. Within an undefined time, one knew the possibility of their name being etched within the white space. The finality seals the deal. The punctuating measure turns possibility to tangibility, before becoming reality. As the spring slaughter burned into the summer slaying, and then ripened into the autumn harvest, one noticed the announcements had stopped. Obviously human resources, exhausted from their extermination had deemed it inconsequential to refer to the forced exodus. Their function as recruiters and executioners is enough. There is no need for routine advertisements parading the recently departed. Meanwhile the butchers block remains shows fresh coagulation. The culling continues. Whispers slither up and down the hallways of the office. Slinking shadows murmur yet another name. In hushed tones these discussions take place in corners, behind closed doors, outside and afterhours. The goal is to always remove suspicion away from prying eyes, snooping noses and eavesdropping ears. All attempts to avoid suspicion are exercised. All the while treachery as a form of survival unfolded around. It’s a sadistic device, employed in prior eras of qual brutality. Why waste the resources, the equipment and the effort to kill off the herd, when the masses are capable of doing of slaughtering themselves? Just like the kapo utilized by the Nazis in their concentration camps, an organization can devise its own workforce to turn upon itself. To tear it limb from limb. To root out and purge in its own ranks with extreme prejudice what is deemed weak; what is deemed inessential; what is designated disposable. If one is not living through it or experiencing it first hand, there would almost be admiration to this social engineering. The way in which it is efficiently crafted, deployed and executed. How each piece and pawn moves with calculated effort, causing maximum destruction with minimal effort.
Just as treachery is a survival technique, so too is tenacity. Tenacity is an indomitable resource. Despite routinely threatening that its exhausted and running on empty; what should be a finite resource finds supernatural reserves in which to carry on. And so, you do. Pushing back against the current. Defying the storm. Weathering forward and onward. Never loose tenacity is a rare bit advise when faced with continued adversity. Treachery slithers and hisses around. It provides relief through opioid like transactions. Each cost equals greater penance. To watch the others, turn with such avarice upon one another; to claw, tear and snare. It’s a sickening sight. One riddled with disappointment and even pitiful understanding. Their abject behaviour a product of careful circumstance, ambiance and instinctual prodding. Yet tenacity proves survival in the intermediate, even when the slurs slings and slanders find their target. Despite it all though, tenacity does not make the process easy or enjoyable; rather it becomes routinely exhausting, and increasingly apathetic. With each blow, strike and assault to one’s character, there is a deepening sense of apathy, and increased desire to flee the situation. Surely once again there must be a greener pasture; some hope, some sign, some opportunity to look forward to. So, once again the resignation and search begins anew. Though at this time I have been spared the butchers block and cleaver, the situation grows increasingly dire.
The year 2020 has been perhaps the most unprecedent and destructive year of recent memory. The pandemic has shown societies ability to come together, if only temporarily. The human conditions capacity for division is endless; perhaps due to the historical precedence of division being an anthropological component of society and social relations. 2020 has brought forward a lot of reflection. It has confirmed frailty. Contemplated isolation and alienation. It has undermined social structures. Tested political ideology as a cure all. While demanded medicine and science be at the forefront of the discussion regarding how to combat the disease. Overtime appreciation has been replaced with exhaustion. Exhaustion evolves into malcontent, and we all know where malcontent and discord will lead to from there. This winter is set to be darker, colder and longer, but it too will subside to spring, which blossom into summer, before ripening and reverting into autumn. At the very least, the year 2020 has been one of many lessons. The most important being: the case study regarding The Curiosity of Slaughter.   

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care 
And As Always 
Stay Well Read 

M. Mary 

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