The Coronation: Essays from the Covid Moment
By Charles Eisenstein
Chelsea Green Publishing
In college, I had friends who highlighted entire paragraphs of assigned textbooks. I’d roll my eyes. If you highlight everything, I thought, how can you tell what’s most important? And yet, while reading The Coronation, I found myself highlighting portion after portion of this book. I was moved by the eloquent way Eisenstein described the years 2020–2022. While I imagine some readers might become impatient with Eisenstein’s verbosity, I found myself drawn in by his insightful analogies and illustrations.
The Coronation is a compilation of essays written over the past two years. It shines a spotlight on the tumultuous time we experienced. Offering insights on what’s really been at play during the pandemic, Eisenstein notes it was not just about machinations for power, nor was it just about fear, though fear (particularly of sickness and death) was a tool used by those advocating restrictions and vaccinations.
Eisenstein takes a deep dive into what led to the dis-ease and near-collapse of society as we knew it. While we may have initially attributed the division, ostracism and fear to a novel “virus,” he points out that what we went through was the inevitable result of a broken societal system that could no longer be sustained.
Using an agricultural analogy, he describes how conventional agriculture—dependent on large-scale monocrops and artificial inputs like pesticides and fertilizers—“worked” for a little while but is now clearly degrading the soil, polluting our food and jeopardizing our health. In the same way, our society believes and promotes the ideas that bigger is better; nature must be subjugated or improved on; technological advancement is the best way forward; and medicine will save us. These premises have led to a worldview and society that are sick, in the multiple meanings of the word. They have led to an unsustainable approach to health, rather than the approach described by Dr. Weston Price: “Life in all its fullness is Mother Nature obeyed.” Sooner or later, something had to give.
When a seed dies, something new sprouts. Manure, which is waste, ends up nourishing the earth in surprising ways. The change from “normal” to the so-called “new normal” is, therefore, not to be feared but to be observed with wonder. It is an invitation to step into our new place—or as Eisenstein puts it, into our own “coronation” as sovereign beings. But the process itself is far from comfortable, no matter how poetic Eisenstein may make it sound. As a matter of fact, his book may be quite unsettling for those who have regarded the past two years through a black-and-white, good-versus-evil paradigm. He does not lend credence to notions that Bill Gates is evil incarnate, a Star Wars-like villain. He doesn’t see malevolence lurking behind pharmaceutical executives either. He regards them as human beings—flawed and convinced that what they are doing is best for humanity.
He also has a disconcerting take on viruses, or at least one that challenges the WAPF perspective that there is no virus. He says, “To believe that hundreds of thousands of virologists have spent the last 50 years studying a hallucination, one must think that they are corrupt fools unable to see the obvious. Viewing them that way prevents communication, learning, and a mutual quest for truth.” At the same time, becoming “sovereign” means rejecting old paradigms and embracing our humanity and the humanity of those around us. The real pandemic, Eisenstein suggests, is “dehumanization.” When we lose sight of our common humanity and get swept up by rhetoric, we all lose. Charles calls us to a new, better path—one that leads us to love others and to usher in the beautiful world our hearts know is possible. For this reason, this book and its vision deserve two thumbs up.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2022🖨️ Print post