Guest Column: 2020 The Double Edged Sword. Freedom or Control?

by Hilary Bowring, Contributing Editor

The ‘double edged sword’ is a metaphor for how something can have both favourable and unfavourable consequences. The pandemic feels this way.

Anyone who has read George Orwell’s’1984’ is only too aware of the idea of a police state, Big Brother surveillance, exposing the potential power of the state to enslave and rule. I read 1984 when I was young and have been on the alert for that possibility all my life but had no firsthand experience in the UK. Other friends of the same generation lived in the Eastern block and have very sensitive antennae for censorship and control by the state. Many people have lived in suppression in modern times under oligarchies and cruel dictators. So ‘Big Brother’ is not fictional.

Now with digital and AI, the ability to increase patriarchal governmental control is getting easier and easier every day. In most parts of the world we have been given freedom of choice regarding some digital invasions like facial profiling, iris scanning. My choice has been ‘No’ whenever I can stay beneath the radar of personal data collection….But things are going on without our permission—Today I phoned Rogers, a telecommunications company here in Canada, and the guy said ‘Oh I’ve no need to check who you are with personal questions because our voice recognition system confirmed you are who you say you are’. Hmmmm

And anyone who has been through an airport recently knows we have all been identified by a machine that scans our passport takes our photo to clear our security; de facto facially registered.

The Double Edged Sword Discussion and the Pandemic

Social Media

Being an aging Baby Boomer I remember being in awe when I first encountered the Internet in the 90s as I could see it’s great value in forming a collective voice which could be used for political activism. Veering left wing always, it seemed an opening for social justice to be heard. To still have a chance to change the world!

Twenty years later people use social media to state points of view as well as dinners and selfies! Sharing human joys, gifts and talents is a ‘feel good’ aspect, which is great. And it is a way to publicise events and draw people of like minds and hearts together. However as their censoring tendencies are rapidly growing we need new digital platforms holding integrity for freedom of speech. Face book, Google and all big companies have been challenged for disregarding our privacy. But not for censorship, despite removing people with controversial views from the medium with no explanation, just Gone. From an erudite astrologer I know, who sees this whole period being about the assertion of personal power—Removed. To David Icke with conspiracy theories. Removed! ..Whether one agrees or not we cannot allow them to muzzle free speech. We need new options.

The Pandemic  Impact

Now we are in the worldwide pandemic. Fear is flourishing and fed by many main stream news rooms. Lock down. Policing. Fines. ‘Stay Home’. People losing jobs, the economic state of collapse. The terrible death among the elderly and vulnerable. Dire straits indeed.

Showing the cracks in our current systems. Exposing the governance of Profit before People, Me before We. It is a meltdown of a kind.

So which way will humanity go?

Conspiracy theories see the opportunity for more control by governments, including that this was a manufactured virus designed to collapse the current system so the 1 % would better dominate humanity. Well who knows from whence it came, but here it is and can certainly present as an opportunity for more control by the state. At the same time its an opportunity to break away from the de-humanizing patriarchal systems and create new systems based on kindness and respect for all.


As soon as the word ‘vaccination’ was mentioned I could feel the presence of the double edged sword.

Yes may be vaccination would benefit some people but immediately my intuition screamed  MONEY FOR BIG PHARM…Now that could be solved with the creation of a not-for-profit global vaccine, but doesn’t seem likely.

Then there is the uncertain science around vaccines efficacy and long term negative side effects….. There are viewpoints that are not anti-vaccine but against any reckless rush for a Covid 19 vaccine.  

Then a worse intuitive idea floated in, vaccination could be made compulsory  on the basis of protecting the community. No! No! NO! my heart went. Could become a vaccine requirement for travel, a vaccine passport for work etc….. I’m not into conspiracy theories but what an opportunity to control the masses. The government here is aware of the ethical significance of immunity passports so I’m hopeful this won’t happen.

Government financial benefits

Here in Canada the relief benefits have been imaginatively created and dispensed very efficiently with incredible speed and with in-put from various view points. The visible compassion and benevolence of all 3 levels of government has been impressive. Some criticise which is fair enough. Although voices crying ‘over here, we need help over here’ are being factored into the almost daily adjustments. No government is perfect and there will be the behind the scenes influence of Big Money. Glad to live here.

The Double edged Sword

On the positive side

Great things are possible:

– This could lead to the Basic Income actually becoming the way forward.

-Increased economic value to low paid, critical workers in nursing homes and hospitals

– Affordable housing, assisted rents for the lower paid and homes for the HOMELESS.

On the negative side

-The Basic income could be conditional on being vaccinated

-Travel could be conditional on being vaccinated

-Ageism. Forcing anyone over 70 to be vaccinated

The Tension. Which way will it be?  More control or more freedom and compassion?

We are at an amazing junction in our evolution.

One way –The so called ‘new normal’ that still perpetuates the patriarchal hierarchy. The otherness. The Me-ness. A new normal with the same unfairness re wealth in the hands of the same few. Greed continuing. Social injustice allowed to stay, misery for many. Slavedom

Or Another way—A New Way-create a new society based on Compassion, Integrity, Honesty and Unity Consciousness. I read an article by Douglas Cardinal suggesting we return to the ‘maternal economy of the Indigenous gift –giving culture’ based on loving and caring for each other and the planet. Sounds wonderful and a way to re-balance the masculine and feminine energies like never before.

Our Role

We each have a part to play in this shift, the exact way means getting in tune with and following that stirring in our hearts. Then intuitively following where that takes each of us on a daily basis.

As we connect with our hearts we are able to hold serenity and compassion, able to radiate steady kindness to others, simply by our presence.

We offer simple acts of kindness to our family our friends our community, show our loving caring natures more and more. Inspires change one loving act at a time

We have courage to speak out for our beliefs if government action is against our heart felt integrity. Take action to find a path forward around the obstacles:

-Set up and sign petitions

-Inform and engage support through social media

-Explore new digital platforms that honour freedom of speech.

Suggestions I’ve been given: A news video channel in the US, ‘Democracy Now’ which purports to give unbiased news. And a free speech video site, Brighteon. (Used to be REAL video)

-Join groups that care for humanity and the planet-Green Peace, The New Green Deal.

Striking a balance with the double edge sword.

My choice is not to join completely rebellious groups as they perpetuate the dualistic sense of divisiveness and otherness. I love groups that seek bridges across the divide, listen and create together. New language can help, too many petitions are adversarial “We demand such and such….” May be a more constructive conversation would be stronger “We draw to your attention to”…, pointing out flaws, asking for consideration and change.

Of course we each have our breaking points, our deal breakers and if anyone tries to enforce vaccination on me I might have to go on a hunger strike. Well just joking with that extreme. But that would be the time for me to march and sing protest songs.

Meditation helps. To connect with our heart’s stirring here is a meditation The Mind into the Heart. When the mind rests in the heart it merges with the love held there. 

or To connect with others in this Oneness Meditation