How to Make Sense of the Global Coronavirus Shock

The global respiratory disease, the coronavirus, has taken our breath away in a split second. But it can be used as an opportunity to inject oxygen into a new world.

A woman reads a closed sign at Starbucks during the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Santa Monica, California, U.S., March 16, 2020.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A woman reads a closed sign at Starbucks during the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Santa Monica, California, U.S., March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

It is well known that people do not appreciate what they have until they lose it. In fact, we would do the world a service to part ways for good with what is gone: our frenzied and selfish old lifestyle. 

We might already be asking ourselves what our lives will look like after the coronavirus pandemic is over, which will likely take months. Our way of life will certainly never be the same again. Many businesses are expected shut down: restaurants, theaters, cinemas—entertainment venues in general—will have a hard time recovering people’s interest enough to stay afloat. 

The Healing of an Ailing World

So far, following the recommendations of health officials is a means for survival, but gradually, we will start seeing something appealing in our new stripped-down lifestyle. A special taste will be acquired for a simpler and deeper form of existence, in contrast to the endlessly exhausting pursuit of materialistic satisfaction that has characterized humanity until now, leading us to a desperate state of ever-increasing emptiness and lack of fulfillment. New senses will be born for self-scrutiny letting us realize that the virus actually resides in our hearts and minds, in the harmful ways by which we relate to each other. 

Just like the serpent on the Rod of Asclepius, the symbol associated with medicine and health care, the coronavirus raises its head and forces us to ask questions about the purpose of life. The virus is, in fact, a medicine infused into humanity to heal it from its destructive egoistic nature, which causes conflict, separation and suffering. Thus, we can choose to look at the crisis as a blow and senseless pain, or instead, we can see it as an opportunity from above to correct our failed path and change direction to a more balanced existence. The recovery process will depend on how we respond to the challenge nature is presenting to us.

In the sense that the crisis is aimed at elevating humanity to a different level, to a new approach to life, it becomes something useful. Nature is indicating to us that it disagrees with the lifestyle we have created: pollution, waste, reckless industrial development—conditions affecting and ruining the planet’s integral system on all of its levels: still, vegetative, animate and human. Also, we need to start fixing the damage we have caused precisely at the level of human connections in order to recover balance by organizing our world more healthily through mutual care and responsibility.

The Individual and the Collective Are One and the Same

Every individual and all of us together are responsible for transforming what is now taking place in human society to a better state. This is so because in nature’s integral system, the individual and the collective are equal.

Humanity has undergone a long path of self-destruction and division, and the virus shows us that a breach in our connection is the root cause of the problem. Such awareness helps us start feeling ourselves as one body of humanity. It is bringing the world to a single uniform state, revealing that we truly belong to a system where everyone is interdependent.

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