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Social Distancing: a Call For a Deeper Level of Connection

Connection is our remedy, social cohesion is our healer. The only distance is the one between our hearts.

Cherry blossoms (sakura) are in full bloom, but few people are seen at Maizuru Park in Fukuoka on April 5, 2020, amid an outbreak of the new corona virus COVID-19. Fukuoka Governor asked for refraining from going out unnecessarily and urgently, and many stores and department store have been closed. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, globally widespread on March 11th.   ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
Cherry blossoms (sakura) are in full bloom, but few people are seen at Maizuru Park in Fukuoka on April 5, 2020, amid an outbreak of the new corona virus COVID-19. Fukuoka Governor asked for refraining from going out unnecessarily and urgently, and many stores and department store have been closed. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, globally widespread on March 11th. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

We are in the midst of a very unique time. Humans are social animals, but in the COVID-19 era,  the difference between being healthy or sick could be determined by our physical proximity to others. Thus, social distancing is encouraged by the experts to avoid a ripple effect of the virus. But staying away from each other at the corporeal level could also help us to reshape and improve our relations. 


How? We can achieve such a goal by nearing our hearts, the ultimate purpose for which the pandemic unfolds.

From non-mandatory stay at home recommendations to imposed quarantines, an unprecedented lockdown is observed across the globe. With a naked eye it would seem as if life is throwing us in all directions mercilessly, imposing new rules on us, leaving us with very little time to grasp the rapid changes and get used to the new reality. So, humanity awaits its defeat impatiently, expecting to overcome the small invisible yet stronger than any flesh and blood enemy that disrupts normal life.


But there is another hidden adversary we have to defeat, which is dangerously moving freely among us. COVID-19 is just a byproduct, a reflection of what happens inside our society. It is not the disease per se. It came to ring a bell and warn us about an even more dangerous pest: the ego that has taken over the world and alienates us. By the ego, we mean the intention for self-benefit at the expense of others’ misfortune.

Getting Separate, Growing Closer

Humanity is in a battle against the coronavirus, but the most important struggle takes place within humanity itself. We are running after the virus and extract revenge over what it says, shooting the messenger. Let the doctors heal, let the scientists research, let the experts fulfil their role and find a vaccination. Even then, neither a vaccine nor social distancing and total lockdowns will defeat the plague, but our new attitude. 

We need only accept what the virus is communicating to us. If it is understood, we can all turn and be victorious over ourselves, namely over the hooliganism that we have developed among us: clashes, hatred, friction and intrigue. Any attempt on our behalf to improve our attitudes to each other, to develop relations of mutual consideration and responsibility, will be considered a wonderful triumph.

Building an Internal Bridge Between Us

In this period, we would be wise to take a look at the big picture and not at the small virus. We are integral parts of nature. Therefore, the nearer we become to each other, as we balance negative forces with positive ones, as we bridge the gaps among us, overcoming distances that separate us, we will defeat the separation with the power of connection. 

We will then feel that the world is less of a combat arena, and that it has become softer and friendlier. It will not happen in one shot. We will heal slowly. It is like a patient who recovers one day after the next, until becoming strong enough to finally be healthy again.

Connection is our remedy, social cohesion is our healer. If instead of selfish struggles and control over others, we get along among each other and develop relations of mutual responsibility and cooperation, we will certainly be able not only to get over the coronavirus outbreak, but we will also break the walls that separate us. 

We will then realize that the only distance is the one between our hearts. 

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