How to survive through love and lovelessness in the Time of Coronavirus

A reflection on our current times

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We live in erratic and volatile times, of ups and downs, connection and rupture, of borderless societies and global interconnectedness now suddenly replaced by restrictions leading to new frontiers, enforced borders and intangible barricades as we again look a new pandemic in the eye and strive to governmentally, collectively and individually contain and eventually eliminate the disease.

There will come a time when this will all be over, when the abandoned and evacuated streets and imposed quarantine and isolation triggering dystopic images from war and postwar periods will be but a haunting memory, when the doom and gloom astonishingly aggravated by acts of extreme selfishness and commercial mass hysteria – with people fighting like vultures over a single roll of toilet paper completely disregarding the elderly who are in most dire need of urgent care and attention- will slowly fade away; albeit not vanish completely into oblivion. There will come a time when we learn from those Europeans hardest hit by this virus, when the citizens of a country that celebrates love, communication and human interaction – who now interconnect singing from balcony to balcony above eerily empty streets – through their stoic Italian endurance will show us a way forward.

This is the time when we, too, must stick together, when we must show each other not random but regular acts of kindness, when we must join forces in a human and humane spirit, helping each other and showing empathy all the way. 

There will be an end to this, the sun will rise again and we will again be able to look each other in the eye without fear and suspicion. But we will not be the same, how can we ever be? The trauma has to be dealt with but we will be more mature, more reflective, more patient and understanding, and we will finally be able to comprehend and appreciate the true meaning of globalisation: the coming together in human sympathy across borders and the realisation that we are one human race facing the same human issues only resolvable through concerted collective efforts.

When this is all over and we face less restrictions, traveling and the discovery of new places will hopefully be done in a more mindful manner; one that is less wasteful, less egocentric, and where our attention is more genuinely focussed on the Other – both at home and abroad. We will learn how to thrive and prosper differently and innovatively.

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