Can We Ever Go Back to ‘Normal’?
These days, everyone is living in the Covid 19 shadow. None of us are free of this malaise and we surround ourselves with constant news and articles and conspiracy theories and try to wrap our heads round how a seemingly backward life form could wreak havoc on us humans.
This has been in fact our downfall from the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. We have become driven like the very machines we have built, to run like a locomotive on a one way track to god knows where, disguised as ‘success’ (money, fame, power). Most have existential crises half way down the line, and most deny it and keep going whereas some succumb to it and actually do a 180 degree about turn. Fact is that such individuals are few and far between.
But now, nature by her own creation has brought us all to a grinding halt from the life we knew just over a month ago. The harsh reality of what we have become has been shoved in our faces on a daily basis. Our dysfunctional relationships at home where to be stuck with whoever in your family has become a headache. Our dependence on escapism and addiction – work, gym, cigarettes, alcohol, partying. Our dependence on a workforce whom we have scant or no regard for – farmers, janitors, garbage collectors, supermarket staff, drivers. Our dependence on the national services that we often scoff or consider beneath us – healthcare, military, police. We have also realized how scarce food and money are for a huge segment of our population – how dependent they are on their daily wage to just survive. And how it serves politicians to keep masses of uneducated, deprived and drug addicted slum dwellers to do their bidding. We have also realized that institutionalized religion has built community but forgotten the individual in guiding that self realization of spirituality and faith. This is done on purpose and those with eyes to see and ears to hear will know what I am talking about.
This is the reality we should have been addressing decades ago. Yet now we are confronted by it and whether we like it or not, we are compelled to face it. In this reality, can any of us go back to our carefree lifestyles with no care for what our purpose in life is? Can we just ignore what the Earth is forcing us to face? Our own lack of empathy, consideration and gratitude for what we have.
Today the Earth is teaching us gratitude. In myriad ways she reminds us of what we have today. That there are people far worse off than us. That we don’t pay for the oxygen we breathe but we have been systematically polluting its source. We are grateful that we have a place to call home, food on our plate and people who do care about us and who don’t. Coz when you know who you can do without, you are grateful for who you have.
And while we humans, the most destructive life form on Earth, have been thwarted in our living conditions, the Earth is slowly healing. It took a virus of unknown origin to force humans to face the immense destruction we have unleashed on ourselves and on the planet we call home – Earth.
I have said this before and I will say it again. We are but a fleeting species on the spectrum of Earth’s existence. 4.5 billion years of existence of which we have not even been on this Earth for a million years. We will in time, go extinct or evolve. Just as the dinosaurs that lived for millions of years 65 million years ago, and just went extinct. So will we. In time. Nothing is forever. Perhaps we should start embracing that as the new normal. We will then be more grateful, more considerate and perhaps truly answer to our call in life and not just live besieged by social expectations and traditions that make no sense in the Covid 19 world of today.