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The Meaning of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

In case your French is not up to speed my translation for the above would be:

Earth: Thanks for giving me a break

Coronavirus: Do you think they’ve got it yet?

Throughout 2020 and into 2021 many people have suffered very great losses. There have been large numbers of premature deaths for many and longlasting symptoms for others on account of this terrible disease. There have also been losses of livelihoods, businesses destroyed and education severely disrupted. Throughout it all key workers in hospitals and elsewhere have valiantly cared for others, often in seemingly impossible circumstances. I can only have compassion for those who have suffered and those who have striven mightily to alleviate suffering and support life.

Obviously the pandemic has created a varied landscape in which some people have suffered enormously and other less so. Each of us has to find a way through this landscape. I have been very lucky to maintain good health in this and although personal freedoms were severely curtailed and much adaptation demanded of me, nevertheless I did not suffer.

But the purpose of my comments was to draw attention to the bigger picture. If we look beyond the individual and consider the collective, I see that there is a big opportunity, an invitation from life to live in a radically different way, how we organise society, how we use and allocate resources, how we treat each other and so on. But most of all, living respectfully in relationship to the environment that supports our life. I know some people think in terms of ‘saving the planet’. I think the challenge now is to save ourselves as if we do not change our abuse of the planet, then the planet will probably dispose of us. You could view the pandemic as a polite suggestion - or even warning - from life that we need to change. If we don’t raise our game, it seems likely that other events will unfold and not in an agreeable way, although I have no sense of the Universe acting out of malevolence towards humankind. If all that sounds very gloomy, then we all have to decide whether to focus on the opportunity more than on the risk. If we recognise and seize the opportunity then we could be in for a golden period of human history.

As the pandemic progressed, and we got used to the habit of accepting restrictions, the phrase ‘the new normal’ came into use to signify these changes in behaviour. Mostly this meant ‘social distancing’ staying at home, moving about less, wearing face masks and much handwashing. Now (March 2021) with a UK vaccination programme well advanced and with rising optimism, once again people are starting to talk about returning to normal, which I think means life as before, what we were used to before 2020. Do I want to return to normal? In terms of freedom of choice, yes with perhaps some adaptations. But in the way that society is organised, my vision is for much more radical change than giving up face masks and social distancing. So far reaching that problems like inequalities and injustices will be subsumed within the changes. Not from within familar structures and institutions but from a radical shift in attitudes. This might mean completely different forms of organisation, the nature of which I cannot foresee. But it would mean to live in accordance with spiritual or holistic principles, that we are all part of an undivided and indivisible whole. And not on the manmade principles which are founded on the individualised ego and so strongly expressed in the patriarchal structures.

I believe this can happen but not as part of the long history of revolutions driven by ideology and ego. We’ve tried that for many thousands of years, usually involving conflict and illusory resolutions. But with a different type of leadership of men and women of all kinds who are free of personal ambition, and based on real wisdom and concern for the whole.


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