Making sense of COVID (1/4)
Finally, I have begun to make some sense of the pandemic….what is all this about?
First, this is about community.
Over the decades, our communities have eroded.
(Remember how it used to be when we were younger?)
This means, today, there are many people who have no immediate neighbours to lean on. It means not having friends to confide in. A hug deficit. Mental health issues.
Our relentless pursuit of self interest has left us too busy to connect. With closely knit communities, we could have avoided the mental health epidemic that will follow the pandemic.
However, communities are also our last hope.
When the government and private sector are inadequate, people-to-people networks are saving lives. Localities with strong communities are able to hold rules more strictly. Community is safety.
My sense is that this is an opportunity to restore community.
This is an occasion to rejuvenate our dead relationships. It is a chance to checking in with every loved one. It is a chance to support others and rely on them.
Friends from all over the world are checking in, reminding me of the global family that stands by our side. In a strange way this brings us closer.
The work of connecting communities at such a time is nothing short of being sacred.
Making sense of COVID (2/4)
Secondly, this pandemic reveals the nature of viruses in general.
The virus teaches a a lesson in humility. It teaches us that we are not invincible. It shows us our frail attempts at control.
The virus pushes me to consider death that stands just an infection away. And about our valuing of life and how sensitive we are to losing it. The stoic in me tries to systematically connect me to the impermanence of everything.
We are at a war with nature and now nature has sent us a virus. An opponent that is impossible to tackle without suffering casualties. A microscopic entity that is larger than our collective might.
It makes me understand idea-viruses better (that needs another post)
This virus can be the world teacher we are waiting for.
Making sense of COVID (3/4)
Thirdly, this pandemic is making me feel that we are in a portal, a potential space between stories.
Something very deep and fundamental has shifted for me. I am not used to being as helpless. I am in a collective trauma event. Everyone is filled with grief and dread.
Who knows how long it will take to recover?
The road to normalcy may be long and winding, but the recovery will give birth to questions.
Questions about the choices we have made and their consequences. About the nature of power itself, not only the people we put into power. And about our limits as human beings.
From these questions perhaps, something new can start birthing.
A push that no campaign could give, no bestseller or charismatic leader could mobilize. Maybe this is Nature’s jolt to us, which we can convert to a wake up call.
That, if we wake up.
Making sense of COVID (4/4)
And finally for me this pandemic is about reclaiming faith.
The power of faith, not the blind variety but the one that comes from meeting my smallness and insignificance, from connecting to my ancestors who have survived many such events and from surrender to a higher power than me.
The faith that comes from witnessing the birthing of newer ways to connect and newer ventures being born. From seeing the divine in thousands of people who are going out of their way to do good.
Faith in our capacity as a species to come together and deal with it.
This is a time for purification and patience. For a change, it invites us to embrace both the rational science and the irrational hope.
As meaning-making creatures, we have no choice in the event itself. But, we have a choice on what it means to us and how we will respond to it.
That is the tiny point where our freedom, hope and possibility lie.