For a while it appeared toilet paper might take the prize, but the desperation over clean backsides appears to have abated. By the same token, an obsession for wearing face masks in public has become more intense and widespread. Some clever companies have even begun creating stylish face masks for fashionistas who simply refuse go out into the street unless their masks match their shoes.
As far as I know, the wearing of face masks was already an established custom in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea well before the birdemic takeover, but the trend never really caught on in the West. Well, the birdemic appears to have changed all of that. I can't say for sure, but I have a feeling face masks will remain a part of everyday life in Western countries long after the ridiculous panic and fear subsides.
In some circumstances I am sure a face mask can offer the wearer some protection against airborne viruses or help protect others against the wearer's germs, but as is the case with almost everything in life, certain criteria and methods need to be in place in order for the practice to prove effective. I am no medical expert, but I am under the impression that only a few of the masks out there offer any real protection. I also suspect face masks often offer no protection or do more harm than good. For example, people don't always wear the masks properly or end up touching their faces far more than they would under normal circumstances.
The effectiveness of face masks is debatable. What is not debatable is the sense of security it appears to provide the wearer. Let's face it, the birdemic has struck abject terror in the general population. People appear willing to do anything to reduce their risk of being infected by the virus. Some countries have mandated people wear face masks when they go out in public. Perhaps they believe masking everyone will create an aura of safety and responsibility. I don't know.
But I do know this - I don't like face masks in public. There is something inherently dehumanizing about masking the human face. A crucial channel of communication and existence is denied when the human face is hidden. True, eyes are the windows to souls, but faces are windows to human personality.
Stop and think about all the non-verbal communication a human face is capable of transmitting; this non-verbal communication is a vital part of the human experience. Facial expressions often reveal as much if not more than mere words can, especially when it comes to emotions. A deep frown or a gentle smile broadcasts far more than a verbal expression of sadness or pleasure ever could. The human face is an important and powerful channel, one we all use to interact with others and the world. Faces contain critical reservoirs of information that help us read and interact with others; that important channel is now being veiled from sight.
This may sound overly dramatic to some, but I believe the measures taken in response to the birdemic crisis all contain purposive dehumanizing elements. In fact, I would go as far as to claim that the entire process has been intentionally dehumanizing right from the start. Put another way, the mandated responses are deliberately and systematically humiliating us and depriving us of essential positive human qualities and rights, both individually and collectively.
Lockdowns, social-distancing, work-from-home, church closures, face masks, and all the rest of it can all be rationally explained away at the temporal level; and this is exactly what most people appear to be doing as they passively accept whatever restrictions are imposed upon them. But can the same be said for the spiritual level?
I view the birdemic response as an intrinsic part of our current spiritual war. Seen from this perspective, the demonically-inspired dehumanizing elements within most of the measures we have all been ordered to take become glaringly obvious. A trace of humiliation stains all of it. Humans are social creatures, yet we are being ordered to social distance; to limit all non-essential travel and meetings with others; to avoid gathering in groups of more than two or three. Even when we are in public, we are being mandated to keep a two meter distance between ourselves and others. And when we are out in public, what do we see? Masked people. Eyes without faces. All the while, less visible forms of pernicious dehumanization are quietly taking place in the background as people are deprived of their jobs, businesses, and livelihoods.
As I have already stated, there is something fundamentally dehumanizing about all of it - but I find the masked faces particularly troubling. We are made in God's image and faces are a big part of that image, yet that image is being masked and hidden from view. When we hide the human face, we are, in essence, hiding God.
That might sound a little over the top, but that's how I feel about it. The other restrictions may eventually be eased or lifted to some extent, but I have a feeling the face masks will stay even after the supposed danger has passed.
George Orwell said that if we wanted to see a vision of the future, we should imagine a boot stomping on the human face forever, but Orwell never could have imagined the human face would be masked.
A boot stomping on a masked human face forever - that will become the symbol of the birdemic totalitarian takeover. Count on it.
On a somewhat silly side note, Billy Idol's song Eyes Without a Face takes on a whole new dimension within the context of a permanently masked public. The song obviously has no direct connection to the birdemic crisis or face masks, but some of the lyrics extend beyond the song's original framework of detailing a betrayed/tainted love relationship:
Eyes without a face
Got no human grace
You're eyes without a face
Such a human waste
You're eyes without a face
And now it's getting worse