Like a firm, demanding teacher, the coronavirus is impelling us to change our way of thinking. By not letting us return to our previous way of life, it forces us to build a new one, where we focus less on material, immediate satisfactions, and more on lasting, social ones, which derive from positive connections with others.
We don’t have to wait for the virus to push into connecting with each other. In fact, if we do, we will suffer even more bitterly than now from the stern hand of the invisible “teacher.” Instead, we need to acknowledge our interconnectedness, that we are all interdependent in every aspect of our lives, and structure our society accordingly.
The new way of life will require a new kind of thinking. For example, if we feel that we are healthy and strong, we tend not to wear masks because they are uncomfortable. But by doing so, we may infect other people with the virus because we might be asymptomatic carriers. In the new thinking, we will wear masks so as not to infect others with the virus, precisely because we don’t know whether or not we are carriers.
The same goes for food. In the near future, there could be a situation where food shortage will impact all of us. If we all try to grab as much as possible and think only of ourselves, we will create chaos and violence. But if we take only what we need so that others will have theirs, too, there will be plenty for everyone and a feeling of warmth and confidence will spread through the community. In this way, the virus will gradually teach us that good connections feel much better and are much more rewarding than our previous life of brutal competition and overconsumption. The only question is how quickly we will learn it.
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