Michael Laitman, On Quora: “How serious is the 2019–20 Coronavirus?“
The coronavirus is a major historical event that is changing the face of human society around the world.
One minuscule particle surfaced that has already infected over a million people, caused dozens of thousands of deaths, and moreover, put spokes in the wheels of civilization.
Within weeks, our lifestyle of shopping, cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs, travel, sports, culture, churches, synagogues, mosques, and in short, any public gatherings, came to a sudden halt.
The coronavirus physically isolated people across continents to the same stay-at-home conditions, with the mere ability to leave home for life’s essentials.
With the rat race we were running coming to a standstill, the coronavirus has shown us an example of how when we leave the environment alone, it rejuvenates and improves. For instance, the notoriously polluted air of urban China, and the water in Venice’s canals, after a relatively short period of lockdown, cleared up.
The seriousness of such events should lead us to a few conclusions:
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
The fact that a tiny and barely visible virus has caused so much death, illness and socio-economic change shows how small and weak we are in nature’s presence.
The way we were living our egoistic, consumeristic and materialistic lives was detrimental to the environment and to ourselves, and when we live according to mere essentials, nature quickly rejuvenates.
While forced into social distancing conditions, we should ideally revise the way we have been living our lives.
When revising our life’s course, we would be wise to ask ourselves how we reached the state we entered, look into where we are headed, and also, whether we can impact a positive change moving forward.
How did we reach a state where we were polluting the world so much, causing so much harm to the environment and to ourselves? It stemmed from a fundamental opposition between human nature and nature in general.
Human nature is self-centered egoism. It aims to self-benefit at others’ expense, and when unabated, it leads us to a struggle for power and control.
On the contrary, nature’s quality is interconnectedness and interdependence. When left undisturbed by the egoistic human interference, natures guides all of its parts to harmony and balance.
After the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986, releasing ten times more radiation than the amount in Hiroshima, scientists estimated that the area would be uninhabitable for the next 20,000 years. However, a decade later, a blossoming nature reserve emerged from the nuclear ruin, with trees restoring themselves, and a variety of animal species reemerging: reptiles, poultry and various mammal species, some of which had not lived in the area for many years before the disaster.
Nature continuously develops its diverse and interdependent parts to a state of balance.
Since the egoistic human nature is opposite to nature’s unifying tendency, we lack the intuition to maintain balance with the rest of nature.
However, we have been granted the ability to become aware of our opposition to nature. We can learn through such blows as the coronavirus pandemic that by letting our lives run on an opposite egoistic course to nature, we end up suffering.
Also, unlike animals, we have the additional mental capacity to ask about the source of our pain, and reach the conclusion that our opposition to nature is the root of our troubles. We would then consciously and willingly undergo a transformation to balance ourselves with nature.
Unlike nature’s inanimate, vegetative and animate levels, which function instinctively in balance with the integral nature, we humans, devoid of this instinct, have the ability to prioritize our own social values that shape the social influence and public opinion that affects the way we all think and direct ourselves.
If we therefore organize social values according to nature’s value—mutual consideration and responsibility in order to realize nature’s interconnectedness and interdependence harmoniously in our connections—then we would supplement what we instinctively lack through our own conscious and willful participation in nature.
Therefore, the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis, while disastrous in many respects, also offers us an opportunity to upgrade human consciousness and the quality of life in society. How? By activating mutual consideration and responsibility in our connections.
If we fail to revise ourselves in order to become more considerate and responsible for each other, then we can expect nature to place us in even stricter conditions until we realize the need to positively connect.
How, then, can we undergo this shift of consciousness in practice?
On one hand, governments would need to provide basic income, food, housing and health-care, in exchange for our participating in educational programs where we would learn why and how to implement the principle of mutual consideration and responsibility in our lives.
On the other hand, by prioritizing values of mutual consideration and responsibility, we would aim to promote ideas and examples of the kind of positive connection human society needs throughout our media, which currently sends us a barrage of divisive messaging.
With mutual consideration and responsibility becoming society’s guiding principle, the media would address the problem of how our divisive drives negatively impact and weaken human society, and that the way to a more conscious and stronger society is by becoming better connected.
By coupling a more unifying media discourse with a connection-enriching educational agenda, we would learn how to accept, understand and get along with everyone, becoming influenced by a new atmosphere of mutual understanding, support, awareness and sensitivity.
As a result, nature would have no further need to send us pandemics or other crises in order to wake us up to our need to positively connect. In the same vein, we would experience a whole new kind of harmonious and peaceful life, where we live in balance with nature.