It’s not really like in The Siege, as they say. It is more a 12 Monkeys (or even a Walking Dead) situation we are facing. The current restrictions are inconvenient, painful at times, but necessary. It will probably pass, and we will probably learn a lot from it. We will develop some sort of immunity unless the virus mutates, like in the good old films. We will pay the price though.
But that’s not the end of it, not by any stretch of the imagination.
What tickles me now is that the world is already changed. I smell it in the air, as Galadriel said. (Pun is intended.)
But did we start joking with it! Of course, we were skeptical at first that this is not the end of the world. We felt fine, we felt in control. And why wouldn’t we? After all, didn’t Chandler have this scene in Friends back in 1994, when he said at the table, ‘So, the Ebola virus, that’s gotta suck, eh?’ – and that was 20 years before the 2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, which send scary waves around the world.
And then we all laughed at the picture of Italian football fans from back in the 90s, who had a goalscoring machine named Corona, and waved a banner “We’ve infected everyone with the Corona virus.”
And then it suddenly stopped being funny. The outbreak knocked at our doors, came in uninvited, and is here to stay.
It seems to me our societies have rushed for a short couple of weeks through all stages, forewarned by Camus in The Plague:
- denial – this is exaggerated, no big deal, don’t panic;
- anger – how could they dare to announce such extreme measures, democracy is dying;
- bargaining – where to find toilet paper;
- depression – is it at all possible to work from home, take care of the family and the household, and without any social life;
- acceptance – all this is necessary for the common good, let us be good persons.
And examples of good deeds started flowing.
I saw a TV drama series recently, called See. It envisions a future, where after a virus of some sort, people have lost their sight. And every baby since is born blind. Without an ability to see, for generations, humans have developed their other senses, and have started to communicate, live, operate in a completely different manner. And their value system changed. Their orientation changed. And it was not a bad thing, in the end.
I have to admit, it is really hard to watch such a film. It comes with shortness of breath, with a lump you feel in your throat (no, not symptoms of the corona, hopefully), thinking of a life without sight. And you start appreciating more these people around who do not see. Our whole world revolves around visual stimuli. When you take them off, one has to ponder on the basics of life to appreciate the world.
I believe this metaphor is catching up with us. In the foreseeable future, we will lose some of the things in our life we now take for granted. And how will our society look postapocalyptic, I guess no imagination can tell for sure. But it will be different in ways not entirely frightening. I hope we will be able to appreciate the concepts of time and rest better. I hope we will learn to connect more personally, more empathetically. I hope we will slow down and reduce stress by 90+ percent. I hope we rediscover nature and the quality of a slowed down living.
We will change the way we communicate. I hope we manage to get out of the social networks, where interaction can sometimes be poisonous. Or at least rediscover how to speak.
We will change the way we relate – to families, friends, strangers. It will come at a cost for some, but it is necessary. We need to connect on a deeper level and take the time for it.
We will change the way we do business or participate in a business. Our whole motivation towards work might change with the sudden switch. Our appreciation of work will probably increase with the reduced stress levels.
And I certainly hope we will learn to appreciate the world around, to preserve our resources, to see the larger picture of God at work, and not take anything ever again for granted.
I am somehow encouraged we are forced to start these changes. Otherwise, the roller-coaster of the modern world was getting us to a dark place. Will we get to the brighter future, or are we about to reduce to clusters of self-destructing individuals? Looking at the small signs of compassion around me, I have faith. I believe God will prompt the hearts of some towards the greater good.
We will return within a generation or two again to Galadriel’s wise words, ‘Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.’
But that might not be a bad thing.