“No man is an island entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – John Donne
Before the world turned upside down, a few weeks ago, we used to dream big: world peace, a brotherhood of men, saving the planet. We went all the way.
Now, on the other hand, our dreams are becoming somewhat more humble: exiting our houses, hugging our families, meeting our friends. We miss these kinds of things.
Yet, we may find, when the epidemic’s smoke clears, that we can achieve it all, our small fantasies as well as our huge dreams.
Because, at last, humanity is changing.
We are learning, characteristically the hard way, that we are all connected. No man is an island (and even if he is, he’s connected everywhere by planes, ferries and fairies). Even if you think that the bells are tolling for China, you’ll find soon enough that they’re also tolling for you.
Our bitter illusion that each one to himself, that each one has to compete with all the others in loneliness for limited resources, is shattered nowadays. We’re finding out that together we’ll live, or together we’ll die. A much more comforting feeling, actually. (Especially its living part.)
This realization of our connectedness and interdependency has far-reaching consequences, which can form our future.
So let’s peep at this bright future which may be laying ahead of us:
Becoming Focused And Happy
This darn social distancing teaches us what it is that we need most, what it is that really matters: our relationships, our contribution to the world, and our joy when we celebrate life.
When it will all be over, soon, (spitting, knocking on wood), we may know better. We may know that working eight-days-a-week to hoard money, status and looks won’t be worthy of our precious time.
Moreover, with the perspective of looking at our former lives from afar, we may realize that running after money and reputation never filled even our need for appreciation, let alone our other needs. Instead, our rat race only caused us to be aggressive, lonely and shameful.
Not a big success.
Therefore, if we’ll learn to slow our lives down, and focus on our connections with ourselves and with the world, it will make us, and others, happier.
It’s up to us, to turn this crisis into a happifying, life-changing opportunity.
Making Peace Between “Us” And “Them”
So far, many of us were very busily focused on hating ever-changing others, “them”. Some of those haters are still doing their best, with enviable persistence.
But despite the Coronavirus being called “Chinese” or “foreign” by somewhat unscientific politicians (who conveniently ignore the American companies owning Chinese industrial meat,) a virus is totally universal. Unsurprisingly, it is neither a citizen of any country, nor is it aware of any border.
Sometimes, so it seems, we need a reminder that the separations we’ve put between people, due to their origins, looks, cultures or any other idiotic criteria, is nothing but our common imagination.
So we get such a reminder now.
Therefore, it’s time for us to create other common imaginations, ones that will serve our common survival.
Ones that will harness our differences to enhance our common power.
Ones that will be good for us all.
Together we can do it. The struggle against the plague, for instance, is also universal (as are the fear, the losses, the grief, and the hope).
So let’s hope together that after our cooperative fight against the epidemic reaches its happy ending, our cooperation will continue.
Let’s hope that we’ll stop being these spoiled children who quarrel incessantly over meaningless toys (like oil, land, or money) and start being supportive, playful adults.
Let’s hope that we’ll understand that this game, living, is either for all of us or for none of us.
Let’s hope that we’ll leave our infantile resentments behind, and focus on our common surviving.
On our common thriving.
Building A Supportive Society With A Supportive Economy
The Coronavirus disaster is apparently going to leave the entire world economy on the ropes, with an unprecedented percentage of unemployment, and numerous indebted businesses and people.
We will all have to tighten our belts. (That is, apart from the usual villains who methodically abuse others’ vulnerability to make a profit.) (Somehow Amazon keeps popping into mind.)
The economy is where the question of standing together or falling together will be the harshest. Therefore, in order to thrive, we’ll have no choice but to build a supportive economy.
One that will probably comprehend, finally, that a good healthcare system is a matter of death and life for us all.
One that, for a change, will have an adequate social welfare system, which will enable the many broke people to get back to business as soon as possible, and enable us all to have lives of dignity.
One that will assist the small and medium businesses, on which the economy is based.
The ones that should cut their unhealthy fats, however, should be the ones that accumulated our money so far, simply because they’re strong enough to pressure the legislators – The big tycoons.
At a time when everybody is on the edge of hunger, the gluttonous capitalist pigs can go on a diet, too.
Yes, it may make us more socialist, which in some countries is mistook for communist and considered to be a dirty word. But if that’s what will make us all thrive – be it.
We all deserve a supportive society that will use our resources for the benefit of us all, and that will, hopefully, grant us unflustered lives ever after.
Becoming Friends With Men’s Best Friends
Many of us have recently noticed that epidemics cast an unflattering light on our habit of eating animals. We’ve got the mad cow disease by eating cows, the bird flu by eating chickens, the swine flu by eating pigs, Coronavirus by eating wild animals, and the list goes on and on.
So maybe we’re not that intelligent species we thought we are, after all.
As we can all see, these epidemics are getting worse over time. Yet, scientists say we were lucky so far, because our idiotic attitude to the animals we eat happened to not evolve a really fast-spreading lethal disease yet. Don’t cheer up too much, though, because apparently such a catastrophe is only a matter of time. And not too much time, at that.
Hence, we may consider stopping to cut off the branch we’re sitting on. Keeping 200,000,000,000 chickens in dense battery cages is not only cruel, it’s also dangerous. Giving cows inappropriate food like corn, along with drugs to keep them alive nevertheless, is not only cruel and inducing sickening food for us, it’s also dangerous. Giving tonnes of antibiotics to all of these terribly-crowded animals living in their excrements is not only unhealthy for them and for us, it’s also dangerous. And what about pushing the wild animals from their habitats, drawing near them and eating them? Yes, you’re right. Dangerous.
So maybe it’s time to look at our unbelievable stupidity (and cruelty, at that) and stop eating animals.
We can start with quitting the industrial meat, which anyway is shitty (both literally and figuratively). Later we can leave the other animals alone as well.
Truly, it’s not easy to make such a change, and it’s no fun either, especially at the beginning. We can end up being healthy, and live longer, and then what? It’s scary.
Then again, most people will prefer to be healthy than to lose their loved ones and their lives to a vicious plague.
So we may want to consider such a change.
Before it’s too late.
Noticing Our Planet, Too
The most important realization of our interdependency is regarding our planet, our common sinking boat. Though we weren’t attentive enough to our youngsters when they took to the streets to call us to save Earth, we may be better listeners when it comes from the (non-existent) mouth of the Coronavirus.
We’re used to (foolishly) think that climate change is someone else’s problem. Other generation’s. Other parts of the world’s. We arduously ignore our own growing rates of environment-influenced sicknesses like cancer or respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Everyone zealously believes that ‘it won’t happen to me.’
Well, now it does. We’re all in it together.
Furthermore, as climate change worsens, and with it grows the probability and severity of the next nasty disease, ecology is no longer something that happens to other people. It happens to everyone, everywhere. Soon enough, it will also happen every time. And it won’t look nice.
On the other hand, the crisis also taught us that we can make big changes quickly and efficiently. We can save our planet.
So now it is time to do whatever it takes to heal our planet. At the public level, we should tell our leaders to start doing whatever it takes to save us for the long term. At the individual level, we should live and consume consciously. Because, as Mahatma Gandhi said,
“There is enough on earth for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed.”
Luckily enough, now that we learned that it’s our relationships and not our properties that make us happy, making the change together will be a piece of cake.
So let’s care for ourselves, care for others, and care for our planet, for the benefit of us all.
Together, For Better And For Worse
The Coronavirus crisis teaches us that we’re all connected. People. Nations. Creatures. The entire planet.
You harm someone, you harm everyone, and you harm yourself.
You help someone, you help everyone, and you help yourself.
So if you want to live, you have to help others live.
It’s as simple as that.
If you want to thrive, you’ll have to do your best to help others to thrive.
To nurture happifying connections with yourself and with others.
To make peace with people and with groups.
To change the unsupportive economy.
To stop eating suffering animals.
To save our planet.
You’ll have to help your diverse colleagues on this planet, whether humans or not, and be helped by them.
Then you’ll experience the happiness of giving, the happiness of receiving, and the happiness of togetherness.
If only you’ll act upon our interdependency.
One connection at a time.
The post was first published at wake up world