What if Love was viral? Imagine a world that became infected by LOVE-20 – a highly contagious infection of the heart? A disease that moved like wildfire through populations, causing an unfamiliar and unexplainable sense of wellbeing. A feeling so unrecognised and absent from the human condition that all you’d have to say is ‘I feel loved’ and next thing, it is followed by a desire not to go to work, not to go on Facebook either, but to sit and stare at the face of your sleeping baby – and in that simple act to find a deep contentment.
LOVE-20 is so deadly to capitalism they’ve been secretly inoculating us through social media, and TV, and print for years… LOVE-20 terrifies the entitled trolls at the top of their trickledown towers because LOVE-20 changes us.
Adversaries clutch each other in a long healing embrace; the battle finally over. Trump hugs Nancy Pelosi and tells her she was right, and that he really likes her hair, and he’s sorry how he’s treated women, but he couldn’t help it because deep down he never felt loved or good enough, and quite frankly women who didn’t need men scared him.
Pauline Hanson begs Indigenous Australians for forgiveness for her continual lack of compassion and understanding. Bettina Arndt gives back her OAM, and apologises to the family of Hannah Clarke for any harm that her comments, defending the man who murdered their daughter, may have caused.
Andrew Bolt admits to Bruce Pascoe that he was wrong to question his Aboriginal ancestry, and admits that for a lot of white Australians it’s confronting to discover how complex and well-managed Indigenous Australia was before white people stole their country and said they weren’t here.
Men would stop hitting and killing their wives. Multi-nationals would close their coalmines and share the patents to the renewable technologies that they’ve been hoarding. The Gaza strip would be a massive banquet where Palestinians and Israelis break bread together, raving about how great their hummus is.
Imagine the quiet chaos LOVE-20 would bring to a world curated by the architecture of hate and fear. How would we even work out who we were if there was no ‘other’? If we can’t define ourselves by what we are not – then who are we? Without the cancer of identity, individualism would die off.
We wouldn’t need mirrors – because we’d learn to see ourselves in the eyes of others. We would truly know what it meant to be part of a community; with our previous aching selves now as incomprehensible as a single grain of sand. It is the beach that has consequence, not one grain of sand.
How would you know if you’d caught LOVE-20? You’d have a compulsive desire to hug a homeless man and give him the contents of your wallet. You could no longer walk past the pain or circumstance of another without getting involved. You’d find yourself making eye contact with strangers and smiling at them. You’d not only pick up a hitchhiker, you’d drive them all the way home, and then give them your number for the next time they need a lift. You’d lose your ambition. You wouldn’t worry about what you were wearing. You wouldn’t care if you’re old, or ugly, or fat.
You would stand in nature and have a profound sense of gratitude for being alive; followed by a crippling sensation of grief for the unloving and cruel way we have treated First Nations, our planet, each other and ourselves.
What if love was an incurable disease that affected the compromised and the frail, the lost and the lonely with such potency that they became well again?
What does a loved world even look like?
Marx talked about capitalism’s use of alienation to keep people disconnected and compliant. I never quite got it. I don’t think Marx was a bit hippy calling for love either, but he certainly understood how separation from self and community created cogs for the machine. We have farmed a culture of self-loathing. Happy people don’t need retail therapy. Happy people don’t need to satisfy their egos with trinkets or big houses. Unhappy, endlessly dissatisfied people buy stuff to fill the chasm that exists when they feel disconnected from their environment, their purpose, their community and themselves. Disconnection is a long dark pit that kills the canary of hope. It seeds our deepest human sadness. The economic impact of LOVE-20 would be even greater than COVID-19. If all the world caught LOVE-20, the systems that exist to separate us would collapse. By losing our sense of entitled individuality, we’d finally become one.
Don’t keep Love in quarantine. Spread it today.