“You do you.”
Perhaps there’s no phrase that captures our current cultural moment better. Back in 2015, Colson Whitehead of the New York Times Magazine, lamented this phrase, arguing that it “perfectly captures our narcissistic culture.”
Indeed, it is hard to disagree. “You do you” embodies our culture’s commitment to personal fulfillment, self-actualization, and the dismissal of any truth claims outside of the self. It means we get to create our own realities, our own right and wrong, and, perhaps most importantly, our own meaning.
And if we are the creators of our own little worlds, then we are also our own little gods. And no one gets to tell a god what to do. We decide for ourselves.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the selfie is now our world’s favorite art form. The thing to be celebrated, after all, is us.
So—and now we come to it—how does a “You do you” culture handle something like the coronavirus?
Prior generations, no doubt, would’ve turned to science as the great solution. Armed with ever more impressive technological advancements, we were told our potential for solving the world’s problems was essentially limitless.
In the case of the coronavirus, however, the god of science does not seem so omnipotent after all. Maybe there will be a vaccine at some point in the future, but for now we are on our own.
So, what then can be done, at least on a human level, to stop the virus? [Read more…]