Welcome readers to a new year and a new perspective by guest writer, Leonard Touchyner. He has an interesting view on the pandemic and our responce to it. Leonard puts forth several thoughts about change and positive results to the pademic. His email is below his essay.
Too Shall Pass, a Different Perspective on Pandemics
How will the pandemic end? I’m convinced this is not the important question. Like a bug that can only feel his way moment by moment, he is not aware of what lies a few inches away until he gets there. The pandemic we are in at the present time will end. We know that because we periodically have pandemics, and all of them end. It always happens that way. It is simply for us to know that we want to survive it. Maybe, as individuals, we will, and maybe we won’t. We know there are ways to improve the odds of survival. So, we concentrate on those ways. At least some of us do. Others are in denial and refuse to understand the pandemic is real. COVID is as real as polio or HIV. Others realize that the present pandemic will happen, and then it will end, to give way to another epidemic down the road. Why sweat it?
I could go on and on about the ways people deal with the present pandemic, but the point is, that is not the right question. What are the more effective queries to consider? How about, what do these episodes of death accomplish for us? What is their purpose? That would bring us a little closer to a better understanding. Let’s engage that question for a moment. Let’s stretch out our feelers and get a bigger picture.
Pandemics kill a lot of people. They disrupt the direction a society is going. They force us to slow down and re-evaluate. It’s not a very pleasant experience, but it definitely happens. Maybe they tell us what we may be doing wrong.
When COVID had its way with us, the air became clearer. It stimulated the growth of alternative energy sources. It disrupted our supply lines, making it difficult to get a car. People were driving less. Pollution slowed down.
At least we can say not all the effects of a world illness are detrimental. Some of the immediate effects are bad, even devastating, but what would the long-range effects be? Could it change our way of life? Would that be a good thing?
We seem to just want the sickness go away and let us back to life as normal. Is that a good thing? Obviously not. As soon as we come to understand that our way of life, based partially on getting more and more out of the Earth, is not sustainable. Our economy as it is now depends on ceaseless consumerism. That is based on getting as much as we can in as short a time as possible. Our whole economy is structured that way. Do we really want cities with a pall of foul air surrounding them? Do we want our water dirty? Do we want a world with decreasing life span and less and less diversity of life? I certainly don’t.
The farther we go down this path, the harder it will be to alter course. But what should we alter it to?
I’m going to take a leap here which is obvious to me but may not be obvious to others. If the Earth we live in is healthy, the living things are going to be healthy. The same principle works in reverse. If the world we live in is unhealthy, we will also be unhealthy. One way to determine what a person values is to visit his or her home.
This is not a diatribe. Not everything we’re doing is wrong. But we need a change of direction. The sooner we get down to business in finding those things which most need to change, the sooner we can say “this, too, changed.” But eventually in time, we will need another change in direction. If we don’t find our own way, there will be another plague to get us started in a better direction.
In this world, change happens very fast. What it takes to participate in these changes may require increasing rigorous feedback from the world to get our attention. I’m afraid we may not have too many chances in the future to respond to these increasing rigors.
Don’t say “this, too, shall end.” Instead, say “what do we need to learn from this particular harsh lesson?” Then do your part, whatever you see your part as being.