September 11, 2019 by Rasmus Bjerg

Don’t worry, everything’s going to be all right.

Don’t worry, everything’s going to be all right.

The title of this blog is the introductory quote from the post-apocalyptic novel World War Z written by Max Brooks in 2006. The picture of when everybody is trying to escape from the city is taken from the Hollywood movie of the same title. The plot is about the survival of humanity when being faced by a biological disaster of hitherto unseen proportions, it is therefore only appropriate that the author begins the novel with the above comforting opening quote, especially when everything in the novel is really not going to be alright for anyone.

There is nothing uncommon in such a situation, when faced with adversity we often tell ourselves and our loved ones that everything’s going to be all right, we may not quite believe in it, but never the less it is comforting words everyone wants to hear and as such it can be a powerful sentence which can give us strength to endure and overcome the hardship ahead of us.

I'm also guilty of telling myself everything’s going to be all right even though I don't really believe in it - but that's often all I got, and it can help me overcome a situation where I stand to loose everything I love and care about, everyone does it, it's only natural.

Usually I'm accused of being myself and expressing my opinion, and when the whole thing makes Kafka's Der Prozess  resemble a school girl tea party, I whisper to myself "come on, we have freedom of speech" and "don't be silly, we have legal certainty" and "surely they will eventually see the fallacy of their own logic" and so on, and in the given situation this delusional self-soothing really helps me keep my composure under severe pressure.

When my accusers gets bored with me and they find something more interesting to harass the  pressure subsides and I'm in the clear, then I start thinking of actual severity of the situation and how bad thing could have ended for me. It was not the law that saved me nor legal assistance nor anything else that I personally could do or say to protect myself, no - the only thing that saved me was simple chance and fortunate circumstances, that is pure luck and nothing else, and that's really a scary thing if your life depends on it.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in his book the Gulag Archipelago:

That’s all there is to it! You are arrested!
And you’ll find nothing better to respond with than a lamblike bleat:
“Me? What for?”
That’s what arrest is: it’s a blinding flash and a blow which shifts the present instantly into the past and the impossible into omnipotent actuality. That’s all. And neither for the first hour nor for the first day will you be able to grasp anything else.
Except that in your desperation the fake circus moon will blink at you:
“It’s a mistake! They’ll set things right!”

When observing Solzhenitsyn's predicament from a comfortable distance it is surprisingly easy to answer the questions “Me? What for?”  - Well, it's  You simply because it is You and you got our attention somehow.  And what for? - Don't you worry about that, we interpret the law with absolute sovereignty, the charge is whatever we feel is appropriate in order to stop you from doing what we don't approve of.

And the delusional self-soothing of “It’s a mistake! They’ll set things right!” - No no no, it's not a mistake, for the true believer the system does not make any mistakes, so there is nothing to set right, lights are out for you my friend.

The rest of Solzhenitsyn's story is well known: During his imprisonment he was beaten and tortured daily while fighting severe cancer. After being re-socialized he started writing his book in secrecy as he believed it would serve as a testament to posterity, thus ensuring that this evil is not repeated by future generations, at least in theory.

So you see, everything's definitely not going to be alright, it never was and never will - but that does absolutely not mean you should refrain from telling yourself delusional self-soothing lies, because you really shouldn't worry, everything's going to be alright.

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