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Views & Reviews

Positivity in Time of Pandemic

By EMN Updated: Mar 26, 2020 11:37 pm

As we go through lockdown, let us retrospect on how to think positively and overcome the situation. Yes, can this pandemic help us change how we think and act for the better? One way to think about the pandemic is in terms of humanity coming together to fight a natural threat in the form of a virus. As I study for days about this virus, I find this thought both inspiring and absurd. To remind that all the money in the world, the top countries and scientists, the world most powerful leaders, the best medical experts come into conclusion that they are all vulnerable, worried to address this disease. On the other hand, this threat is impersonal; we all know that it does not look for status, colour, caste, creed, etc. it is real and that’s the many reasons, it became a human versus everything that is neither human nor human-made. Perhaps, all the more reason, sense of unity originated in the same worldview.

We are back in the narrowest of circles: me vs. you, many people felt that their freedom was threatened and started to assert their individuality in various ways. Some disagreed with the necessity of cancelling group gatherings and organised unofficial ones themselves. Others continued to go out and live as they always did. It is a wrong conception to assume that freedom is to do as we choose, and that is contrasted with being told what to do. But there is another route to freedom, which goes back to the notions about oneself as part of something larger. It could mean accepting some discomfort and boredom to protect someone else. Yet, whatever be the doubts and disagreement, let us not forget that our enemy is invisible and thus, nothing beats social distancing. By staying indoors, we will not only keep ourselves safe, we will also do our bit in healing nature. During the few days after the outbreak, rumours and fake news have taken over the truth. It has gradually become a threat inciting fear, panic and worrying the mass than the actual virus itself. As a responsible citizen, all said and done, it is imperative that we use the lockdown period effectively.

It is often said that nature has its own ways of reminding humankind that it needs to preserve and respect resources. And more broadly, our view of ‘Nature’ has radically separated from humanity over the last decades and that’s arguably to blame for climate change, which even scientists have suggested makes it easier for viruses to spread. Corona virus pandemic has triggered panic globally, forcing a majority of global population indoors. If there is one thing philosophy can do quite effectively it is to unearth our implicit, habitual vision of the world and show us what follows. Thinking of life on earth as a unified, non hierarchical and self-sustaining system, beyond one’s individualism. Today, many environmentalists claim to dislike humans from the perspective of the whole planet and the damage we have done to Earth. Perhaps some people welcome or at least accept pandemics for that reason. Yet if we place ourselves closer to individual suffering, we may struggle to keep that view: the director of a hospital in Italy nearly broke down when interviewed on TV, talking about the deaths he witnesses relentlessly every day. Can the two perspectives, being part of the whole and caring for individuals, be reconciled?  Sometimes this possibility runs up against conflicting interests and resistance. Sometimes it does not: we have, with a smile, seen pictures of dolphins reclaiming the waters near Mumbai and pollution levels returning to normalcy in many cities. Now when so many of us, who were moving out regularly on their vehicles, public transport, working at factories, are staying at home due to lockdown, nature has begun to breathe. So does the flora and fauna, which are relishing their share of Mother Nature, with freedom. Social media has been flooded with pictures and videos which show that birds, wildlife and aquatic species that were not daring to venture into human territory have started to appear in the open. World has slowed down, so nature is breathing a sign of relief. I think we don’t have to die for such things to happen. But we do have to significantly rethink our lifestyle and our role within the planet.

During this pandemic, all my thoughts and mind reflect on the words written on the packages from China to Italy containing protective masks: “We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same trees, flowers of the same garden.” Humanity will eventually halt the spread of the virus, but its effect is going to be felt for generations. The past few weeks have demonstrated humans can, and will, radically alter habits, lifestyles and patterns of behaviour when needed. Lockdown and quarantine for someone like me may not be a huge sacrifice. But as I write this, I hope isolation and lockdown can also be an opportunity for reflection, change and healing period. These thoughts about who we are as individuals and as parts of a large, wonderful web of life. To build on a new hobby or refreshed on the lost hobbies. To turn on the pages of our relationship that we failed with our family and God. Towards being good and doing good. To act, think and live positively. To get onto a book of life (Bible) or be inspired from a writer. To build on our faith more sincerely, honestly and stronger than ever. And lastly, to recover the quiet time that we have missed out. God be with us all. STAY HOME, STAY SAFE, SAVE LIVES.

Kotso Medo,

By EMN Updated: Mar 26, 2020 11:37:50 pm