With a tenacious worldwide pandemic, an unprecedented Saharan dust cloud crossing the Atlantic and threatening to throttle Central, South, and parts of North America, locust swarms all over Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America, it seems as though we are back in Biblical Egypt—all over the world. And indeed we are. As then, Egypt, the great empire, the symbol of man’s pride, crumbled before nature, so now, nature is showing humanity who is the boss. In Biblical times, there were other places to go. Now, we have run out of sanctuaries; either we do what nature says or die at nature’s hands.
As many have already noticed, the coronavirus was nature’s way of telling us that we had gone too far in our entitlement, in our exploitation of nature and of other people. COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks. But it doesn’t seem as though we learned much during the pause. As soon as authorities began to reopen their economies, we rushed to get back to our old and selfish ways. And the hatred that was teeming everywhere before the plague broke out blew out of control as soon as governments rolled back the lockdown.
Yet, we will not go back to our previous lives. Not because we don’t want to, but because nature will not let us. It will battle us until we accept its authority. And the harder we try to return to our pre-COVID narcissistic selves, the harder will be nature’s push back. It will really hurt.
But if we choose to pause, look at one another, and start rebuilding our communities with care and consideration, so will nature do for us. It will reward us tenfold for our efforts for each other’s sake. There will be no scarcity of any kind, no shortage of food, water, places to live, or fun and games.
There comes a time in every child’s life when the parents begin to demand of the child consideration and attention to others. It is not a punishment; it’s a requirement for adult life in a society of human beings. Today, we are experiencing nature’s demand from us that we become considerate and attentive to each other. Here, too, it is not a punishment; it is a requirement for adult life in a society of human beings.
Escaping Egypt is not about seeking shelter; it is about listening to nature and learning from it how to be caring and attentive grownups to each other and to all of life.