Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Are we overreacting to the coronavirus?“
A tiny particle that our naked eye cannot see has infected and killed hundreds of thousands of people, and shaken the world’s socio-economic foundations.
Are we overreacting to this virus, or is it the dawn of a new system of human relations that was inevitable one way or another?
Before the coronavirus stormed into our lives, we lived on a principle where we each sought to profit from the other, and the better we could exploit others, the more successful we could be.
We were born into and raised in such a system, and tried to make our way as best as we could. While doing so, we became increasingly toxic to each other, and also to the world.
Then, the coronavirus emerged.
The coronavirus has shown us a clear example that when we calm down our struggle to rise above each other, our ecological environment quickly recovers.
Would we have known about that had the coronavirus not entered our lives?
I don’t think so.
Therefore, in addition to maintaining social distancing conditions and seeking a cure, we would be wise to adapt ourselves to a new system of human relations that the virus alerts us to.
What new system of human relations would that be?
It would be one where we primarily acknowledge the necessity to supply for everyone’s needs.
Moreover, reaching such awareness would be achieved through learning about our interdependence throughout today’s global human society, and via such learning, increase our concern for each other.
Instead of merely wishing for ourselves and our own families to be covered, we would increase our concern to others: seeking that all members of society would have the required quantity and quality of food, housing, healthcare and education that they need.
In addition to making sure life’s essentials are in order for human society in general, the new system of human relations would replace the old paradigm of keeping up with the materialistic Joneses with a new paradigm of keeping up with the socially contributing Joneses. In other words, instead of valuing the material possessions we can get our hands on, and wanting “bigger, better and faster” things than our neighbors and friends, our values would shift to appreciating each other’s contribution to society.
We would still compete in such a system, but our competition would be one that becomes increasingly beneficial for society, i.e., by competing to contribute to society the most value that we possibly could.
The coronavirus period presents us with a unique opportunity to make a shift in that direction, from a self-centered world to one where we place society’s benefit at the center.
I see taking that step as the optimal reaction to the coronavirus, and therefore think that it is not a matter of whether we are overreacting to the virus, but of whether we are reacting in the most optimal way to improve our society.
We have been handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reach more balance and harmony with each other and with nature, and I very much hope that we will make the most of it.
Above photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash.