I have missed being here. The past few months have been busy in my research and, frankly sometimes, in mindless distraction until Covid-19 isolated and confined me to my room and forced me to write this post. I am well so far and hope you are also coping well in these strange circumstances.
During this stay-home period for the past week, I have been out only a couple of times for walks on the town’s streets and one time in a nearby park. All I saw on mostly deserted streets were a few nervous-looking men and women (or maybe a projection of my anxiety onto their faces) with pets going about their usual business of defecating or distracting their owners from the path.
But these walks have nevertheless been refreshing and nice breaks from confinement. The rest of my time has been spent reading, gathering data for my research, binge-watching George Carlin and thinking about the fragility of life. As the Covid-19 pandemic has been unfolding rapidly in the West and globally over the past few weeks, I have had some reflections I wanted to share.
First is the reality of death and the fragility of life. Needless to say, death is not new knowledge, but under normal circumstances, it is uncertain and unpredictable, and in fact most of the time a fantasy. The lethality and scale of the pandemic have turned this uncertainty and fantasy into a bit of certainty and reality for the whole world.
Of course, most people are unlikely to die from it but it is nevertheless worrisome and needs to be taken very seriously. The first lesson for me is that besides staying healthy and safe amid this crisis, we need to cultivate more humility and compassion for others.
Life is very fragile and can be ended by something we can’t see, can’t contain and can’t fight easily despite being in possession of the mightiest militaries, the most superior technologies, advanced medicine and the greatest wealth human history has ever witnessed.
You might argue that if we were better equipped and prepared for this pandemic, we would have defeated it. Probably or probably not. But what is still surprising for most of the world barring scientists who study viruses is that something invisible to the human eye can eliminate their life and so suddenly.
Secondly, this pandemic has shown us that the human race is one family. It is a stark reminder that there are things common to all humans, although they may not share everything. There are global commons such as diseases without a passport that defy boundaries.
Therefore, the second lesson is that mental, national and physical frontiers are human constructions with powerful material consequences, but the objective reality and unity of the planet and this universe surpass these artificial human creations. Global problems such as pandemics and climate change can be addressed when we come together and think as a family of the world with a common joy and grief.
Stay safe and healthy!