From east to west, the world is sinking into another wave of the coronavirus. Despite the vaccines and the booster shots, the future of the world seems bleak. Until we learn the lesson that the virus has come to teach us, we will not be rid of it. We have not changed our core values, the ones that inflicted on us the virus to begin with, so there is no reason for it to go away. Only once we change our attitude to every one and every thing around us will we see a relief in the contagion.
Why are prices soaring all of a sudden? There is nothing in it but wicked greed, an intention to make me richer and others poorer.
As for us, why are we so focused on shopping? What is it that we really need? Will another gadget make us happy people? If all it took to make us happy was buying another toy, we wouldn’t see more than 100,000 Americans dying of overdose in a single year, most of whom were young. We wouldn’t see so much violence, so much depression, so much hatred and division.
If we worked on these problems rather than burying our heads in the Amazon.com quicksand, we would feel so much better, and we also wouldn’t suffer from tenacious viruses. Just as the virus has taught us, we are interdependent. You can’t have healthy and content people in one place while people elsewhere feel miserable. Today, unless everyone is well, no one will be well. This is true not only of the virus, but of air, water, wealth, and every other aspect of life.
I measure progress or regression by the changes I see in people. Since I see no changes in them, I cannot say that we have made any progress, so there is no reason for the virus to leave. We are still as abusive toward each other as we were in 2019, and we are just as ruthless toward the environment as then. To paraphrase the words of Albert Einstein, stupidity is to do the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results. We all understand this except when it comes to our own behavior. As a result, millions have died and thousands more are dying each day for no other reason but our carelessness.
The world can provide for everyone abundantly; there is no shortage of anything; there is surplus! So why are people hungry, thirsty, sick, homeless? Why are they not getting decent education and decent health care? It is because we don’t care about each other.
It does not end with the basics in life. Look at the pervasive fundamentalism that has taken over society. We regard those who disagree with us as enemies of the public. When diversity of views becomes a crime, totalitarianism takes over and any means is legal to curb free thought.
We may not see the connection between diversity and mutual consideration and the virus, but the connection exists: It is our selfishness. We exploit everyone—people, animals, and all of nature. We feel that only we matter, and everything else should serve us or become extinct.
When that feeling becomes intense enough in a critical mass of people, it tears apart the system and everything collapses—from human society through the animal kingdom to the ground we stand on. Indeed, try to find one area where there is no crisis and you will fail.
The problem is the common cause—humankind. No highbrow speeches about equity and equality will change the fact that we hate each other. Until we realize that we are different and must nonetheless allow everyone to be who they are, we will not begin to change things for the better.
The buzzword that will mark the beginning of change is consideration. Until we learn to be considerate toward others, the world will not be considerate toward us.