Better Humans, Better World

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Photo by Thomas P Guagliardo

“Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” — Arundhati Roy

“If we can stay in touch with ourselves, if we can find the connection to our deeper selves, we can find this deeper level of hope that truly should be called imagination.” — Michael Meade

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion,, depletion, extraction, exhaustion, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” — Sonya Renee Taylor

Some of us who have lived in the world for a long time have always found it strangely abnormal and badly conceived. Now that it has come to a screeching halt, we are not just relieved, we find ourselves imagining a better way forward. We are feeling a bit more optimistic than we’ve felt in a very long time. We don’t miss business as usual, but we are not deceived. We know the next chapter is going to be full of grief and suffering. We fear that too, but we see possibilities presenting themselves now that we despaired of ever seeing.

Those who believe in the old system and want to revive it are going to be disappointed. America, which has an incompetent goverment at the moment, is in for a shock. The virus doesn’t care if you believe in it or not, imaginary Jesus-shields notwithstanding.

The incompetent and ignorant people driving this train stand to be revealed as the ruthless criminals they are. The people who voted for them will not be exempt from the consequences of turning over power to them. We reap what we sow, even in a democracy.

I’m almost eighty years old. I don’t know if I will see the end of all this. It’s predicted to be over in a few months, but I don’t believe that. The world just had a stroke. Rehabilitation will take a while. The reconstruction won’t build an exact replica of what we’re used to. Things are going to change. Now is the time to sow the seeds of kindness and generosity, creativity and beauty into a new way of living on the planet.

This emergency reaches far and wide. The whole planet is shaken by it. It’s a global event. It’s a tragedy, a catastrophe, and also an opportunity. Because so much infrastructure is threatened with collapse, people are imagining what sacrificial offerings they can make to the gods of the market. They are offering up people my age. I laugh. Do you think the virus will be satisfied with that? Too easy.

But that idea betrays the soul of the system. It demonstrates how stupid and heartless it is. How did we become so devoid of empathy? How did money become more valuable than love? How did we become the people we are?

This comeuppance is our chance to realize basic values in living. Maybe we can begin to notice our cruelty, our callousness, our distance from everything.

Maybe what’s happening in the world is our chance to be better humans.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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