The State of Israel and the coronavirus have had a tumultuous relationship so far (not that it was very quiet in the rest of the world). We began on top of the world when we succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations with the first lockdown. After a few weeks, we thought we’d beat the virus so we all went out to celebrate, and the virus came roaring back. In a matter of weeks, we went from the zenith to the nadir as more people per million caught the virus in our little country than anywhere else, even more than in the United States at its worst moments.
Humiliated and reluctant, we went into another lockdown and the tsunami of contagion began to recede. As we came out, the virus struck again. Luckily, this time the vaccines came around and Israel rushed to get millions of them. It worked for a while and the number of new cases went down to nearly zero.
Then came the Delta strain and everything we thought we had achieved collapsed. Now we’re in the midst of administering the booster (third) shot hoping to curb the spread once more, but we are no longer confident and we are no longer hopeful that we will truly get rid of the virus. More than anything, Covid seems to have defeated our defiance. Many of us no longer believe that we will return to the pre-Covid days, and they are right.
Nature will not let up. From the very beginning, back in the days of the successful first lockdown, I said that this is not another virus but a new stage in our relationship with nature. You could say that we have exhausted our credit with nature, and now it demands that we will pay for what we take. If we don’t want to pay, fine, but nature will not give.
There are two ways we can learn to deal with nature: a long and painful one, or a short and pleasant one. Currently, we are treading down the long and painful one. On this route, we do not take into consideration where we are, the people who surround us, and the entire planet that sustains us. We are using and abusing all of them on our path and focus only on ourselves.
This road, the narcissistic one, sees only the needs of the self. This is why we cannot see the consequences of our actions so calamities surprise us when they happen. If we step into a busy street blindfolded, we are certain to run into other people, stumble on obstacles along our path, and even be hit by the traffic that we cannot see.
When we are looking only at our own needs, due to our egoism, we are blindfolding ourselves, denying ourselves awareness of all other things in existence. We should not be surprised that we bump into things.
When bad things happen to us, personally, socially, nationally, or globally, it is not because they are misfortunes or that bad people do them to us. They were there all along and we could have seen them, be more considerate, and avoid any friction or discomfort. Yet, we ignored them and kept walking straight. The pain we feel now is not because they hit us, but because we bumped into them. It is we who should say “sorry” and mind where we’re going, not the other way around.
This brings us to the short way. If we open our eyes to look around us, we’ll see that everything is connected and moves in synchrony with everything else. In nature, mutual consideration is a given. In us, it is nonexistent. But if we open our eyes to it, we will be able to begin to work on it, to build it among us.
By building mutual consideration, in accord with nature, we will synchronize ourselves with it. Then we will know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it so our lives will run smoothly on their paths.
Vaccines and lockdowns are necessary just as long as we cannot synchronize ourselves with nature. If we can become as considerate and harmonious as nature, we will not need any lockdowns, just as nature never goes on lockdown and never stops evolving.
The brakes nature presses on us are nature’s way to force us to stop and reroute into a more considerate path, where we see others, too, and not only ourselves. If we begin to change our mindsets toward mutual consideration rather than alienation and self-entitlement, we will be free to roam the planet, safe, healthy, and happy.
Medical staff sit inside a cctv monitor room observing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) wards at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel August 18, 2021 REUTERS/ Ammar Awad