When Gustav Mahler was writing his song cycle "Kindertoten Lieder" at the dawn of the twentieth century, the threat of deadly childhood diseases like Scarlet fever and Diphtheria was still very real. The poems he set to music had been written some 70 years earlier by Friedrich Ruckert, who was consumed with grief for many years following the death of his two sons from Scarlet fever in the winter of 1833-34.
Perhaps Mahler's perceptions of life and death were shaped by the childhood deaths of his many siblings, but his fears and pessimism were later borne out; his daughter Maria, borne to his future wife Alma in 1902, succumbed to these vicious infections four years later.
The melancholic undertones of the "Songs on the death of children" (which you can hear in this classic 1955 recording) were echoed in the famous Adagio from Mahler's 5th Symphony, composed in the same summer of 1901, and immortalised by Visconti in his unforgettable film "Death in Venice".
Visconti captured the composer's vision, combining melancholia and nostalgia with beauty and longing, and a resignation to fate. But he also put the fragility of life into perspective, setting the scene in cholera-hit Venice -
Mahler's longing for a beauty and perfection that was doomed to remain unobtainable was presented in Visconti's film as an author's furtive pursuit of the beautiful young Tadzio - a desire that could not be requited or even shared. Such beauty was almost a curse, to both the possessor and the admirer, as ephemeral as the beauty of fire or snow.
The finale of the film sees the author dying, perhaps from the disease or perhaps out of mere longing and loss.
In the strange and disconcerting times in which we live, seemingly at a turning point in human affairs, the "fin de siecle" vision of Visconti has often returned to me. Seeing the recently bustling boulevards of familiar cities suddenly reduced to grey urban deserts with mask-clad figures hurrying past the shuttered shop fronts, also conjured up the reek of disinfectants and smouldering pyres that accompany such real plagues, despite the knowledge that there was no such deadly epidemic abroad; there were no bodies in corners on the streets - beyond those of the few homeless people who refused the offer of "safe" accommodation in hotels. And away from those confines, nature appeared strangely normal, albeit almost devoid of humanity.
Although this was taken before the new era - in summer of 2019, I find it a more reassuring vision of today's new world:
Girls in the sea, Elwood Beach summer 2019
In an echo of Mahler's time, when convalescence by the sea was recommended for those ailing from mental as well as physical sicknesses, the seaside atmosphere has once again failed to cure the sickness - but not through fault of its own. The combination of Ultra-violet, salt, Chlorine and Ozone is lethal to disease organisms, whether in the air, water or sand, so the chance of catching some little flu on the beach is minimal - even from someone sitting or swimming beside you. The same applies to Cholera as to Coronavirus, as the danger was never on the beach; the difference is that we didn't know then what we know now, though to say that is such an understatement as to make it meaningless.
But the twist is that despite our extraordinary knowledge of the way that diseases spread and how we may control them or mitigate their effects, we were better served by the superstitions and traditions of a century ago in dealing with that deadly waterborne disease than we are now in dealing with the novel Coronavirus. This is self evident in the simple fact that the general public is unaware of this, so comprehensively have they been deceived and manipulated into believing themselves virtually unprotected against this relatively innocuous disease.
Such a situation of widespread delusion, fear and ritualistic behaviours has not come about by accident, nor due to poor management or governance; it is rather quite contrived and planned, and orchestrated even as it is improvised. Until late last year it still seemed there was a possibility of a reprieve, of a sudden halt in the slide down into mass psychosis. Although the distinctly contrived appearance of the Omicron variant just weeks before Christmas looked very ominous, the contemporary reports of its mildness coupled with greater infectivity made some suggest that it could be the strain to safely induce widespread herd immunity and "end the pandemic". Such suggestions were even made by chief health officers, before being ignored in favour of uncertainty and fear.
And now the tables are nicely turned, as the public cannot be reassured that they are safe to catch the COVID, and the media impulsively pushes the fear and dangers of death - while the government gently suggests we should "learn to live with the Virus". It's a subtle way of shifting responsibility away from their own years of manipulation and lies.
Meanwhile the "experts" and media try to counter the spreading realisation amongst the burgeoning "survivors" of the Omicron wave that they are at last free of this plague, by claiming the immunity will wear off very soon and leave us exposed - to something worse!
For those of us who never swallowed that bait however, the future prospects now look a little like the sea at Elwood beach, even as they are tinged with the nostalgia of a Venetian sunset. So it is hard to comprehend that all around us there are people who see only the smouldering pyres, and barely dare venture out into this toxic world, even mask-clad and vax-laden. And once safely home and sanitised, must self-check compulsively with their freshly caught RATs. They now live in a virtual world of their own making - or one that has been constructed for them by the propaganda stream on TV, reducing them to the status of a child wearing a VR headset heading into the vaxing chamber, as here:
To quote: "Far from being a scary experience, a visit to the vaccination hub has brought excitement. An exocool numbing device can be used so kids don't notice the prick of the needle, or they can go on an underwater journey using the VR headset - a fish nibbling their arm at the point of vaccination."
Those responsible for cultivating and administering this mass delusion and grotesque child-abuse in Victoria can be seen here looking on as a mother and daughter receive their "booster" doses in one of the "enchanted forests of protection":
Something about the disposition of the two men suggests guilt or embarrassment - or perhaps that is just my imagining, given what they must know is being done to this once perfectly healthy young woman and its likely lifelong consequences. Their colleagues at the TGA have just given the go ahead for a third toxic shot of Pfizer's mRNA for 16-17yr olds, just in time for their return to school. The TGA thus verifies its credentials as nothing less than a rubber stamp for Big Pharma and the "Machine", as Paul Kingsnorth calls it.
As a respite from this sick and sterile world riddled with fear and suspicion, I'll end with a beautiful gem from the same land that nurtured Gustav Mahler -
DM 28th January 2022