Let’s face it, all the social distancing measures, the lockdowns, and the self-isolation have removed most unfamiliar environments from view. The only available spaces for most of us these days are the well-trodden paths from the kitchen to the living room, from the bathroom to the garden or balcony, or from the house door to the nearest shop.
Like medieval portolan maps, these spaces are now crisscrossed with the countless rhumb lines of our interi-orbits. The lines of our entrapment.
For the agoraphobic, the kingdom come is finally here. No more crowds, no more anxiety. Almost overnight, our nations have turned agoraphobic. The private space has swallowed the public place. Where’s 2 meters, there can be four, eight, or even 16. Be ready to enter (geometrically) progressive human relations.
Homo homini lupus, the Latin proverb has it: Man is a wolf to Man. In the 21st century, the wolves have disappeared, but the humans are still around – and they are anxiogenic to each other. Better stay away from me. The government-sanctioned remoteness is comforting.
For the claustrophobic, on the other hand, the status quo is a descent into Hell, a status quo aegrotabimus, the situation in which we shall languish.
Confinements may comfort the crowd-fleeing, but they torment those who are forced to look at the world outside through peepholes. The claustrophobic feels that she’s been flushed from the public pool into the cesspit of a boxed existence.