“An analogy that just occurred to me:

Viruses have what I’ll call an unstable core. This term is not accurate but it works for the analogy. Their genetic code is not well-guarded against misreplication and error. They reproduce sloppily. They lose chunks of their genetic code in replication. They also just grab up any stray genetic code in their vicinity and incorporate it into their genetic core. That’s what makes them so incredibly changeable — so mutable. It’s also the mechanism that allows them to suddenly become virulent and lethal.

It occurs to me that many, many people today lack a stable core. They do not have much by way of a core of fundamental being inside of them. The old pillars that provided strength and solidity to people — church and family being two of them, friends you actually know in the real world being another, engagement with thought longer and deeper than scrolling through twitter Hot Takes — are largely absent from many people.

The genetics of their psychology and personality are thus not well-guarded against mutation, and like a virus, they readily pick up pieces of Identity and stray strings of Meaning they find floating in the medium. They incorporate these new pieces of Identity and begin infecting others with it. Suddenly lost and lonely people are all Non-Binary Femme-Trending Anti-Racist Equity-Working Science-Believing Fat-Positivity Graysexuals who believe Black Lives Matter and that Hate Has No Home Here.

And many people have incorporated an exciting, potent new string of personal meaning, the “People of Pandemic” string, into their identity code.

Being a Person Who Is Very Very Concerned About the Pandemic is just as serious (or, just as trivial) a personal commitment and identity choice as being Non-Binary. It defines them. It determines who their kinship group are. It makes a tribe, it makes a culture. It cleaves them from one mass of humanity and connects them strongly with another mass.

It determines what they believe about a great many other things. You automatically know what all Pandemic People think about CRT, for example — it simultaneously doesn’t exist and is critical to teach children.

We live in viral times. People themselves have now become viral in most essential sense of the word. Having no fundamental spiritual DNA, they now mutate dozens of times a year, becoming more virulent with each mutation, and spread their diseased Codes to the other Viruses who look like people.

This pandemic won’t end. It can’t end. If it were to end, the Viral People whose primary code is being a Person of Covid would themselves end.