In the midst of the Coronavirus fears, something is rising to my consciousness that I hadn’t expected. Amid the understandable confusion, I see a very hopeful sign. We have it in us, as a culture, to take drastic action if we feel a pressing need.
The mass cancellations of events in the face of economic consequences shows a willingness to sacrifice if we sense it is important. The mobilization of resources shows that we have the capacity to respond when we feel the need is crucial. Whether or not we are making all the right responses to a virulent flu is not really the point. We are demonstrating, at least in some ways, the we can respond when we feel the necessity. The virus will run its course despite our efforts, but our actions will undoubtedly save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.
Our government, especially at state and local levels, is being more responsive than I thought possible. The CDC and WHO are doing the job they were created to do. Something about this virus has shifted it from a serious health issue to a major crisis that demands a response.
It is likely that part of the response is due to having something tangible and immediate on which to focus our pervasive and nebulous fears. We know something is terribly wrong with the direction and priorities of our culture. We know that grave dangers surround us, but there are so many competing camps, each blaming all the others, that it is difficult to focus our attention and energy. With the onset of this virus we finally have something we can all agree is a threat.
The Coronavirus is a minor threat compared to the devastation and biocide we are inflicting on the Earth’s ecosystems – forests, climate, water, species, and soil. But we can’t bring those threats into focus. Sooner rather than later we will have no choice. But we are beginning to show that we have the capacity to pull together, sacrifice our conveniences, give up our diversions, and recognize that we are all in this together. This gives me hope. Perhaps we will recognize, after the virus threat fades, that we are far more capable of courage and sacrifice than we ever thought possible.
I am somewhat dismayed by some elements of hoarding and price-gouging, but that simply comes from the fearful story of separation and the illusion that, “we’re all alone,” that we’ve been believing for centuries. That will pass. We have been awakened to the awareness that we are not alone; that we really do have each other’s backs; and that what affects one of us, affects us all.
May we mitigate our panic, marshal our best angels, reach deep into our willingness, and take a hopeful step toward the world we want our great-great-grandchildren to experience.
My dear spouse, Nancy Martin, has written eloquently on this subject. She has a wonderful and sacred ability to envision possibilities. She has done so on her post: Turning Weed-thoughts into Flowers