Much of the earlier medieval era is also known as the dark ages because it was a time when people believed in very strange things and did things that today most of us might laugh at or be shocked by. People in the dark ages had many beliefs and superstitions about the world around them. They believed in strange beings existing in distant lands, such as the dog-heads, who looked human in body but had the heads of dogs, and the monopods, strange folk who had one giant foot that was so big they could lie on their back and hold their foot above them almost like an umbrella. Alongside these strong beliefs of who existed in the world, they also had many beliefs about how best to treat ailments and diseases, such as bloodletting or the act of drilling holes into people’s skulls, known as trepanning.
Luckily today we no longer believe in the same things as those in the dark ages did, and we know how to better treat any problems and ailments we may have. But given the recent events and hearing what strange behaviours and thoughts some peope have had, can we really say that we are all the more enlightened than those that lived in medieval times? Or are we really living in a new version of the dark ages?
Strange behaviours and beliefs
The people of the dark ages, or middle ages as many refer to it, was a time where people lived their lives, a lot of the time in fear, and what they feared back then affected their beliefs and their behavious. The Catholic church at the time was a driving force behind much of the fear that people lived with and as a result, much of the ‘science’ that lay behind medicine and how the world worked was based on superstitions and whatever those in authority would tell the masses. Most people listened to those in authority, the priests and religious figures in charge, because they believed them to know best and they didn’t question whether what they were told was true, they just believed it, because those in power had to be right, didn’t they?.
As a result of this blind acceptance and belief, many strange creatures and ideas came out of the middle ages, strange places and strange, what we would call fairy or folk tale creatures were believed to be real, and if someone swore to have seen a merman or one of the dog-heads, no-one would even doubt that it wasn’t true because even those in power, lords, kings and the Catholic church, the voice of God at that time, believed in it so it had to be true.
Medicine is a particularly interesting subject to look back at because although there may have been some correct usage of some substances like herbs to help relieve or cure certain diseases, the core way in which diseases spread and how to cure them would be considered nonsense today and even downright dangerous! During the dark ages and even in the later medieval period people largely believed that diseases like the plague were caused by the dark sins that people had commited. Or that they were spread by bad smells. During one time of plague in Britain, doctors wore strange beak-like masks to avoid smelling the infected and filled the nose/beak area with certain substances, frangrances, in order to not smell the ‘bad air’ and get sick. Other strange beliefs were that if you sneezed it was either the devil getting inside your body or your own soul about to leave it, so the ‘Bless you’ was said in order to bless the person sneezing, in the hopes that they wouldn’t die.
Modern day beliefs and behavious
Most of the strange superstitions and beliefs come from a time when fear was one of the core ways to rule over people. People back then, as some still do today, feared death and for Catholics in particular (which was the major religion in this country at the time) a fear of purgatory is what drove them to beieve in many things and many strange ideas. That’s not to say that people didn’t have good times and enjoy themselves and…sin…sometimes a lot. But a lot of the medieval world, especially the early medieval world that we know as the dark ages was a time of fear, and those in charge only helped to reinforce the fear.
A few weeks ago I would have said that we are living in a more enlightened world, so far removed in thinking from the dark ages that we couldn’t possibly ever think in such strange superstitious ways again. The fact that medicine and medical practices had moved on significantly from the dark days of the middle ages, that treating certain illnesses and diseases by yourself or using barbaric methods was a thing of the past and that these days things like life threatening illnesses/diseases could be treated using smart thinking and our new modern day medicines. But since the lockdown took place in this country and around most of the world, all I see is a world once again being ruled by fear. Fears that breed superstitions, strange behaviours and, I’m surprised to say, strange beliefs too.
The world is scared of something that they shouldn’t be. The world is once again listening to authority figures who tell everyone how things are without even questioning whether what we hear is true. And the world, and almost everyone in it is willing to accept the most bizarre and damaging of beliefs and behaviours. Which can only lead to one conclusion. We have once again entered a dark age, one we may never leave…
The dark age of fear and belief
Fear is a powerful emotion. It changes how you use your brain and very literally makes you less intelligent and less able to think logically and rationally than you would if you weren’t scared. It’s a biological fact that when people are scared, their ‘fight or flight’ stress response is activated and when this happens, apart from a bunch of other functions, one of the core things that happens is that blood is squeezed out of the front of the brain (that part we use for logical thinking) and is diverted more to the back of the brain (the area used for automatic responses). While this is useful if you need a quick response to running away from a fierce predator, it’s less useful if you need to actually think intelligently and act as such, because the primitive mind is all about reacting and responding.
As a result of being in reaction mode, people are spending their days reacting to everything they hear and see on the news. Instead of thinking about it logically and questioning/analyzing what they hear and checking whether it sounds right, they begin to exhibit the strangest of behaviours while reacting to the fear of catching an illness. In today’s world I see people who are walking on the same pavement as me, rush away into bushes or into lamp posts (because they weren’t looking where they were going) in a bid to get away from me walking down the street, and all because they are scared and believe they will get sick, even though I’m not infectious.
People today no longer think rationally about whether staying apart will actually keep a disease at bay, they don’t realise that it isn’t a mask that keeps them from catching a virus but rather their own immune system working the way it always has. Instead they fear that breaking a 2 metre distance by just a few centimetres will instantly infect them and they or someone will surely die because of it, regardless of whether anyone their near is actually infectious.
Nobody remembers the medical advice of the past, the ideas of things like ‘the boy in the bubble’ who lived his entire life in a bubble, who was so shielded from germs and diseases that the moment he left his bubble the common cold killed him because he had no immunity to it because his immune system hadn’t been exposed to anything and that mildest of diseases became deadly. Nobody remembers the ‘chickenpox parties’ of the past, where chilren were purposefully exposed in early life to this disease to build their immunity so they wouldn’t suffer the far worse effects of catching it in later life.
The dark age of medicine and health
Before this virus crises began when medical clinics were open if you had toothache and it was caused by a cavity or infection you could get treated by a dentist. Most people would need a filling or if less lucky a root canal or even a tooth pulled out, but the latter would be done under local anaesthetic by an expert who knew what they were doing. But since the lockdown almost all clinics have shut and today it is very hard to get hold of a dentist at all. Though there is some kind of emergency dental service running, according to many, it’s hard to get hold of them and all they can offer is tooth extraction even if all you need is the smallest of fillings. But these days many can’t even get hold of this emergency dentist, and those that haven’t got accesss have begun barbarically trying to pull out teeth themselves, with pliers…and without any anaesthetic.
Meanwhile others have had their regular treatments and clinic visits shut down. Cancer treatments and procedures have been halted for the forseeable future. It doesn’t matter that the cancer in some people continues to grow and threatens to kill them, the greater fear of them catching a virus which most recover from, is more life threatening, and even though they may never actually get the virus, or could recover easily from it if they did, just the fear that they might get it is enough to stop all their treatment, regardless of whether they will live long enough (thanks to the cancer) to live a life after lockdown.
From the very serious to even the mild, every clinic has been shut down around the country, and people are left to treat themselves, sometimes in some very old-fashioned and barbaric ways. There is little to no medical advice out there on what to do if you have something wrong with you and just like I experienced when I recently contacted my GP over a serious medical problem, people are told to consult Dr Internet on what to do, or resort to their own self invented medicines and tinctures, and all because of the very real but overly irrational fear that someone might catch this virus.
The dark age of rule and freedom
In the dark ages of the past, those in charge would rule by fear, making the public fear the consequences of their actions if they didn’t do what they were told, and the public on the whole obeyed and didn’t question because they were genuinely scared of what would happen if they didn’t. Many people were slaves in the middle ages, born into a system where they would always be seen as a lesser class and most of them had very few freedoms and liberty. But our society in the modern age, before the lockdown, was one filled with freedoms, opportunity and social mobility, where it didn’t matter what class you were born into you were equal and free to persue any goal in life, and those who were in power faced debate, the questioning of their actions and would have to answer to those actions or face losing their jobs and positions of power.
But today nobody thinks about freedom anymore and nobody questions whether those in charge are even right, they just accept everything they are told without asking and without thinking. Nobody questions whether we are supposed to live in fear. They just accept that it is a state we must be in no matter how bad it is for our bodies and mind. Nobody questions why the experts want us to fear this virus, instead of just being aware of it and informed. Nobody questions why those in charge aren’t following their own advice, why they never wear masks, why so many who made the rules that lead to our society’s strange behaviours have broken them. Nobody questions whether this thing is really as dangerous as we are being told – surely if it was those who made the rules would fear it too? And nobody questions whether the medical advice could ever possibly be wrong – because keeping everyone in their own bubbles, breathing their own air and getting headaches from wearing masks, staying away from the sun and its vitamin D (which is vital for our immune systems to function) is of course better, right?
Nobody cares about being locked away, nobody cares about how having no contact with others affects those mentally ill. Nobody cares if suicides from such isolation or lack of physical contact drastically increase in number. No-one cares how many little laws have been changed and enforced so we no longer have the freedom to protest, the right to meet a friend in their home even if you are both healthy and free of this virus. Nobody realises the numbers of dead and infected are no higher and dangerous than the winter flu we have globally every year (Stanford University study), because they were never bombarded by annual flu statistics every day in the years gone by. Nobody realises that so many of those people who are listed as dying from this virus didn’t die from it but only with it, that other conditions like heart failure were the causes of some deaths and how those registering the deaths don’t even need to be sure but only suspect the cause to list it as being the virus, even though so many causes of these deaths in days before the new laws would have been checked and listed differently (check the new legislation).
People don’t realise the number of deaths from other causes has soared to a new level that will soon (if it hasn’t already) rise above those of the virus. Deaths that could soon cause a real threat to the NHS, to health services around the world, and all because people couldn’t get their regular treatments and check ups in the last few weeks due to a virus that has a massive survival rate (check the world statistics).
The New Dark Ages
The fact is that we have now entered a dark age in our world, one which I believe one day, in the distant future, will be looked at by our decendants as an embarrasing time, one in which we let our fears and irrational version of logic govern our lives and where sensible thinking and true intelligence disappeared. It will be looked back on as a time when the ‘experts’ got it wrong, where a lot of the medical advice surrounding this disease will be frowned upon, afterall – how can the experts who come up with ideas like shutting down all medical clinics and social distancing possibly come up with logical and sensible advice when they themselves are in fear and therefore ‘thinking’ from the back of the brain, the reactionary/more primitive mind?
I know some of you reading this will think that what has been said is ludicrous, you may be feeling a lot of fear and think the opposite of what’s been said in this post. Or you may be someone who believes in everything the news reports say. And I won’t try to change your mind, because you and everyone in the world has a right to believe what they believe. But whatever you choose to believe, just remember that experts are not always right and medical advice and treatments have not always been correct. Every year new studies debunk old thinking and every year we are bombarded with many viruses of the same family (corona) as this one which cause us countless colds and flus that, honestly, we have always had the risk of dying from if our bodies are not well.
The age of enlightenment?
There are always risks to living life, there are always risks that we could die every time we leave our home, every time we do anything. There’s even dangers to staying in our homes too. But before this outbreak we still got on with life and lived it. Whether we enjoyed our lives in the past or not, we still took the risk to live it. Because life is created to be lived, not to be put on hold while we wait for some miracle cure that might never come. We can’t sit at home waiting for the day we can go out again, we can’t wait for that miracle cure because sometimes cures come with terrible side effects and we need to start believing in our own bodies, that we are healthy and that our own amazing and beautiful immune systems will cure us and make us immune to this scary disease…like they always have with so many viruses of this same type.
We need to begin mending the fractures that have formed from the fear in our society, because if we don’t it won’t be us who suffer, but our children and the countless generations that come afterwards. We might not see it today, but one day, if we don’t start thinking logically, rationally and living without that fear; if we don’t start questioning ‘expert’ opinion and questioning those in power, then we’ll wake up and see the world which we’ve created, and when we finally start to think clearly…we won’t recognise the world. It will seem a bleak, hostile and sterile world. It will be filled with fear, suspicion and hate. And only then we will realise just how big a mistake we have made.
-Please keep any comments and conversations you have with other commenters here civil regardless of what your beliefs are. We all have a right to share our opinions and be heard without having them berated. Thank you and have a beautiful and healthy day, and believe in that imune system of yours! ❤ 🙂
Do you agree with this article or not? Do you think we’ve entered a new dark age? What are your views on the current situation? Are you living in fear and worry for the future? Or do you have a different opinion on what is happening? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂