Just about everyone is wrestling with a feeling not unlike being slapped in the face repeatedly with something wet, unpleasant, and fishy just now – as another, probably shocking, news event screams for our attention before the full facts of the previous attack / coup / natural disaster / international incident fade away.

More than one journalist has suggested that a permanent banner should run along the bottom of all screens with the words ‘what just happened?’ repeating endlessly.

People cope in different ways.

Rocking rhythmically backwards and forwards isn’t recommended, but is comforting.

Humming tunelessly to drown things out can hit the spot in a similarly ‘leave me alone its not happening’ way.

As can getting stuck into all things work.

It was in a spirit of clearing up lots of deferred tasks, some of them online renewals, some of them closing down things that should have been closed down aeons ago, that I was reminded of the nonsensical instruction at the closing stage of many online submissions that demands proof that you are – not a robot.

A common instruction for this stage is ‘please confirm your humanity’ and involves, typically, an ironically robotic action- such as copying fake attempts at spidery hand-written characters from one box into another.

Given the times in which we currently live, the turbulence, the challenge to our feelings of what is right / wrong, what is ‘normal’, what is good / bad, and the widespread feeling of existential unease, is this really how to ‘confirm your humanity’?

Something much simpler will do that.

Something we should not be afraid of showing, something which when others reveal it we should respond to with compassion and comfort.


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