The extreme cold spell that the US is currently experiencing is truly historic. But then, so is everything these days. The American society has never been so divided, at least not since The Civil War, gaps between the haves and the have-nots have never been so wide, the Covid pandemic has forced historic closures on America that have not been implemented at least since the Spanish flu, and the level of violence, substance abuse, food insufficiency, and depression are all skyrocketing. In light of all that’s happening, and keeping in mind the historic fires that burned for months throughout the West and Mid-West all summer and fall, the cold spell, as bitter as it is, seems more like a natural continuation of the trend of extremism overtaking the US than an unexpected disaster. From the human level to the inanimate nature, everything is breaking records of intensity, and it is to no one’s favor.
The math is straightforward, the more extreme the egoism, the more extreme the climate—both social and environmental. America has put egoism on a pedestal, called it “individualism,” and enshrined it in its constitution. No country has put itself more at odds with nature than the US, and turned this approach into its core ideology.
Since America has turned itself into a role model of individualism, of going against the mutuality in nature, the harmony in it, the coexistence, nature, in turn, has made America an example of the consequences of inconsideration with nature’s most basic law of harmony, achieved through mutuality and balance. What you give to nature is what you get in return. When you give nature a cold shoulder, it gives one right back.
If America wants to survive, it must reverse course. Just as it indoctrinated its people to overconsume, enshrine self-indulgence, become fanatic over privacy, individuality, and entitlement, now it must do the opposite. Now it must teach its people how to see each other—with their hearts, not with their eyes. It must teach its people that they are all dependent on each other, and that their fate is sealed unless they all work shoulder to shoulder to pull the nation out of the swamp.
The menace that is Covid-19 is just the harbinger; many other perils will follow in its wake, and they will be far worse than their “little brother.” The only way America can “dodge the bullets” is if it unites as one nation fighting for its life.
But nature isn’t punishing America; it is merely balancing the extreme egoism America imposed on it. If America reverses course, so will nature, and all the storms will calm. Nature speaks the language of balance and harmony. The more we are like it, the more we understand it, and the better it relates to us. If America stops fighting and starts reciprocating with it, it will discover that it doesn’t need to conquer nature in order to build a good life for its people; nature itself will do it for them.
[A man walks to his friend’s home in a neighbourhood without electricity as snow covers the BlackHawk neighborhood in Pflugerville, Texas, U.S. February 15, 2021. Picture taken February 15, 2021. Bronte Wittpenn/Austin American-Statesman/USA Today Network via REUTERS.]