There has never been a reaction like this to a virus that one can remember. From Malaysia to California, in many European countries, we see the introduction of closure measures for schools, theaters, conferences, appeals to citizenship for the limitation of social relationships, up to discussions on the minimum distance to be kept with the neighbor, the refusal to tighten the hand to a friend, to avoid contagion. The atmosphere you breathe around is that of suspicion, that of a war against an invisible enemy. The person who sits next to you, even your brother, could hide a contagion! Woe to touch, woe to embrace, to kiss!
There have certainly been positive effects of these measures.
All over the world, all governments have adopted strict virus protection measures, in the interest of people’s health. For once, it almost seems that the logic of profit has been dominated by the principle of safeguarding the individual. It seems that the priorities of the economic machine have been put aside to make health priorities prevail. Most likely, it is said, this approach will also be replicated for future viruses.
I am asking myself: is there something profound that is changing in society, in people’s lives? And then, will this mutation be positive?
I see three possible scenarios.
The first is that everything will return as before: the dominant paradigm will continue to regulate relations between peoples and individuals, the economic one will remain the same. Once the storm will be over, which for many has also become an opportunity for profit, we will start again as before and more than before.
The second scenario could see the persistence of a strong focus on individuals’ physical integrity. Health first of all. In this case, a very dangerous tendency towards closure, mistrust, and individualism would be accentuated. That clearly only companies and wealthy people will be able to afford.
Luckily I imagined a third possible outcome.
It could indeed happen, and everything must be done to make it happen, that in showing the profound limits of the current development model and in the need to look for another possible way, this ‘shock’ does not stop at the surface, considering only the aspect the health of men and women, but finally put the person at the center, in his fundamental and unique value.
Only then will the coronavirus be served! And we could immediately see the same commitment of governments and businesses towards children who die of cold on the Balkans or towards the populations exhausted by hunger in Yemen, and even towards the suffering and deaths of thousands of women and men due to wars and injustices, in Libya, in Syria and in other places in the world.
That means that we finally understand that death by coronavirus is no longer worthy of other deaths.
To verify whether we are taking this narrow path with the necessary initiatives, we must not wait for the next government decisions or the “declarations” (be careful not made!) of the United Nations representatives. Just start from our eyes: if crossing a stranger on the street we will not see in him a danger but an opportunity for improvement, then we are on the right path.
Aldo – Oh how I prayer that you are right and that as a result of this virus, we realize how precious life is and become a kinder, more compassionate society in every nation. Only time will tell. Thanks for at least pointing us in the right direction.
I must say that I too have many perplexities because too often the lessons we have learned have then fallen by the wayside.
I count a lot on the new generations and I really hope they commit themselves.
Totally agree with you Len! Hopeful this is how the world comes out of this. At the very least we can hope for more civility….