Paris Lockdown: Resilience

Aliss Valerie Terrell
3 min readMar 22, 2020

--

My world has become both smaller and larger, close ups magnify: butterfly on wild strawberry and magnolia leaves in my courtyard

Day 6 (I think):

Fear keeps rearing its ugly head. Worst case scenarios like “What if I never see my loved ones across the Atlantic again?”

Making a list of end-of-the-world situations our first-world grandparents, parents and we have come through over the past century: WWI, “Spanish” Flu, Great Depression, WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Korean and Viet Nam wars, May 1968, Cuban Missile Crisis, Oil Crisis, Chernobyl, 9–11 Gulf Wars and Recession, Financial Crisis of 2008…Pandemic?

Am I leaving anything out?

Fortunately French artist Catherine Jonville relayed this on her feed: *

(my translation)

From French radio station France Inter published on March 16 2020 at 6:57pm

“Boris Cyrulnik: After the coronavirus, there will be deep changes, that’s the way things work.

The neuropsychiatrist was interviewed by Ali Rebeihi in the program Grand bien vous fasse, devoted to the epidemic. He explained how our society can survive this crisis and become resilient.

“We have to adapt to an invisible agressor. Humanity only evolves through crisis. After this crisis, the family and the couple will once again become havens of peace.

Crises are part of the human condition. There have been ice ages where we had to adapt by hunting more. And during the periods of global warming we had to farm more. We have already faced many epidemics which have triggered cultural revolutions, great adaptations.

Right now with quarantine and confinement we must focus on inner exploration.

Along with reading, cooking will become more important whereas before we snacked on industrial food. We’ll listen more to the radio and music. We’ll adapt by retreating into ourselves, we’ll rediscover the values of our grandparents.

For those who worry about their jobs, their family, their children, I say we must worry about taking protective measures. If we follow them, uncertainty will decrease. If we adapt to confinement, there will be fewer reasons to worry.

When the epidemic is over, we will see that we have dusted off old values which will serve to develop a new way of living together.

Every time there’s a natural catastrophe, there’s a cultural shift. After the trauma, we have to discover new rules, new ways of living together.

In the Middle Ages, people hadn’t understood that they had to quarantine. Infected people spread the bacillus everywhere. And in Europe, two years after the plague of 1348, half the population had disappeared. When the epidemic was over, social values had changed completely. People discovered the art of homemaking. Before that, art was essentially religious. Suddenly there were stilllife paintings of game and fruit, carpets under the tables.

Above all, the production relationships had completely changed. Before the epidemic, most people were considered as serfs and sold with the land. Afterwards, so many had died that the survivors who agreed to work were no longer serfs. They had to be paid for their work. Production relationships and the hierarchy of values had been completely transformed.”

https://www.franceinter.fr/vie-quotidienne/boris-cyrulnik-apres-le-coronavirus-il-y-aura-des-changements-profonds-c-est-la-regle?fbclid=IwAR17mcmhDrnsQt7T8VnBDo1ISn72DzkQ2iUpFAMmlnlahH_Q2jK5yVMiPhQ

Boris Cyrulnik is an psychiatrist, behavioural scientist and author, best known in France for developing the concept of resilience in psychology. He knows his subject from the inside, having survived as a Jewish child during the Nazi Occupation of France, as his parents perished in concentration camps.

For more about his life and works see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Cyrulnik

*For more about Catherine Jonville and her art, see:

Focusing on gratitude, connecting, going outside, moving my body, cultivating beauty, and releasing expectations of “normal”

Wishing you resilience!

xxxxx Aliss

--

--

Aliss Valerie Terrell

I’ve had several lives since coming to France: grad student, singer songwriter, writer and filmmaker, marriage and mothering….