“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Has the Corona pandemic changed your life?
As much as we all wish to wake up and find that the horror movie we recently live in is only a not very credible science-fiction, reality has the gall to insist on existing. And it changes everyone’s life, if not practically then mentally.
It seems like the end of the world as we know it (and for a change, it’s not only a well-worn cliché). The numbers of the quarantined, the sick and the dead go up daily both worldwide and in every single country (excluding the mysterious China). While there’s much talking about an instantaneous cure, there’s no real one yet.
The world is rapidly changing. And though it’s done by a monstrous plague, if we learn its lessons curiously, it may become a better world afterward. Maybe for good.
Many of us were sent home, to work, to be quarantined, or to be socially distanced. It’s like the universe tells us all to go to our rooms and think about what we’ve done.
Here are some of the lessons that it’s probably time for us to learn:
1. Why “there’s nothing new under the sun” is nothing but a lie
We tend to think that what there is, will always be. When it comes to the challenging political situation or to the deterioration of our society / climate / generations (choose the right answer), we’re sure that nothing good can ever happen.
Our pessimistic conservatism gets even worse when it comes to our conception of reality as an all-out war, with everlasting borders, countries and fighting. Even if we understand that this sad state is based only on our collective imagination (as Yuval Noa Harari shows in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind), we fail to imagine it changes.
Yet, “Ceaseless change is the only constant thing in Nature,” as John Candee Dean puts it, and history benevolently proves over and over again.
Seeing the world changing so fast and so drastically these days, in front of our very eyes, can teach us that a change is possible even on a very large scale.
Actually, it’s the most optimistic revelation we can get. We shouldn’t let the world’s unmovable appearance deceive us. If it can change utterly and swiftly even by a virus, the tiniest of all creatures, what enormous changes can giants like us make?
The world, therefore, can be magnificently changed by your own actions.
What a powerful discovery!
2. Why “every man for himself” is also a lie
One of the weirdest things about this pandemic is that it requires us to collaborate.
To be precise, our lives depend on our collaboration. Without international sharing of information and research, and without people limiting themselves by socially distancing and quarantining, we’re all doomed. (If not to death, then to grief.)
Although our interdependency has not always been very clear, now it is obvious, and it is vital.
But the Coronavirus only uncovers what has always been there, veiled: that we’re all connected.
Diseases, ideas and behaviors move speedily from one person to another across the world.
We’re all tangled with each other.
We affect each other in numerous ways.
Now, when countries and people avoid each other physically but help each other in all kinds of ways, it’s the time to realize we’re always in need of each other.
We better stay aware of it in the future as well, and continue to support each other.
Together we’ll be able to achieve the fantastic goals, like saving our battered planet, that we can’t achieve when we’re separated.
3. Solitary confinement sucks, so we better stop putting ourselves in it
Coronavirus graciously teaches us not only by the things it gives us, like change and collaboration, but also by the things it takes away from us. Contact, for example.
We’re used to resenting the polite gestures of closeness. That is, until we’re not allowed to do them. Only when we must stop shaking hands, hugging and kissing the people around us, we discover how unnatural this cold behavior is for us, and how much more we resent the lack of closeness.
Not meeting the people we love, our grandparents or parents, for instance, is even worse. But the worst is when we have to refrain from meeting even the people we don’t love, when we work from home or are quarantined.
Suddenly we realize how friendly we are under our misanthropic cover. We find that we love the company of people, even strangers. We discover that we’re emotionally connected to every person we see, hear or think about, without distinction of race, religion or gender.
We discover who we really are, under the cultural and conceptual masks.
We find that, surprisingly, we are loving creatures.
We’ll be able to use this altruism later to celebrate the people around us, and to support people around.
Whether we know them or not.
Whether they’re from our group or not.
So we better remember that we’re all together. We all depend on each other, and in the end, we all want the common good of us all.
4. Why fake is also a lie (well, duh!)
The Coronavirus brought us a fresh, innovative attitude: suddenly we’re examining the facts, and trying to tell right from wrong.
Even the media changes its face. All of a sudden, it shows numbers and not only vague declarations. Moreover, it even bothers to check the facts and to update them. Who would have thought?
Unexpectedly, the media interviews these forsaken people, experts, professionals, scientists. Even if they have no political record whatsoever.
It’s about time for the pandemic to remind us what we shouldn’t have forgotten in the first place:
- That we’re responsible for what we say, do, and spread. And we should check what we hear, and stop listening to people who lie to us or play us for their own glorious benefit.
- That it’s idiotic to base our choices on senseless stories, no matter how emotional they may be.
- That we’re committed to the truth, because without it we have no life.
Let’s hope it’s the beginning of a new era, when nobody will make or spread fake-news or any other fake (and if they do, they’ll be put in solitary confinement).
Let’s hope it’s the beginning of an era when the truth, with all its faces, will be our guiding principle.
Let’s make it such a new era.
5. Why “there is time for everything” is also not that certain
The sweeping of Coronavirus over the world raises deep questions in almost everyone.
Such a change, and such a danger, as many people experience it, make us face the big questions of life. Even if the total number of the dead won’t rise, due to the decrease of air pollution, traffic and other unnoticed homicides, the plague’s (relative) deadliness causes many of us to remember that life can’t be taken for granted.
Therefore, some philosophical people raise existential paradoxes. Others wonder what they better do with the remaining time of their lives (which is just the same question but in shorter words).
More and more people around the world ask what the pandemic is all about, profoundly, and what changes we should be doing. In other words, more and more people are dealing with spiritual questions, god forbid.
Usually on the social media, of all places.
Amazing, isn’t it?
So, now it’s at least as good a time as any to join our brotherhood of men (and women) and ask ourselves the eternally important questions:
- Why am I here on this planet?
- What can I do to help it and its tenants?
- How can I make the world more collaborative, equal, respectful and peaceful?
Let’s use this opportunity and be, and make, the change we want to see in the world.
Healing our world
Whether the crown-virus meant it or not, whether it was sent by a god or by a bat, this pandemic changes the world.
But it’s up to us to determine whether that change will be for better or for worse.
It’s up to each of us to decide how to react to this change.
You should decide whether to act upon fear, desperation, solitude and hate.
Or to embrace the change, the interdependency, the love, the truth, the responsibility.
It’s up to you whether to help creating out of the chaos a better world of people who, regardless of their location and origin, help each other and help the planet.
It’s up to you whether to learn the lessons of the change.
By honing your unique gift, one realization at a time.
By giving your love to others, one support at a time.
A version of this post was previously published at Wake Up World