Like many, I’ve readjusted to the COVID-19 lifestyle and reminisced on when things were relatively normal. Although news anchors, conspiracy theorists, fearmongers, and other bored YouTubers did their best to raise my blood pressure these last few months, I’ve gained some much-needed clarity. Limiting our freedom and forcing us to analyze the world through multiple lenses has been cathartic. And whether that freedom is reinstated or altered going forward won’t change my perception of today’s new reality.
Here are a few of my epiphanies regarding this outbreak.
Status and Credentials Mean Nothing
There was a meme on Instagram that stated, In 1 week healthcare workers, truck drivers, and grocery store employees became more important to us than NBA players, actors, and famous people. And I’d like to include all white-collar, 6 figure employees who don’t work in those fields. The real heroes I’ve noticed throughout this pandemic have usually gone unnoticed in the past, which speaks volumes on the psyche of us here in the West.
As a society, we’re programmed to value labels, status, materialism, and self-inflated egos more than those basic qualities that make us human beings. I’m not saying that furthering one’s education to get the proper training needed to help change the world isn’t important. But separating ourselves by class, social status, and titles mean nothing when we’re all equally affected by global catastrophes. And when sh*t hits the fan, those with their boots on the ground are usually the ones who have the least.
Fear is the Precursor to Savage Behavior
If you’re like me, then you’ve had time to binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows. And one reoccurring trait that I’ve noticed in apocalyptic entertainment is the behavior of humans when we’re afraid. We’re savages, and nothings off-limits when survival mode kicks in. This explains some of the antics that have taken place in supermarkets throughout the country.
According to How Stuff Works, the purpose of fear is to promote survival in humans and animals. Throughout human evolution, the people who feared the right things survived to pass on their genes. This sounds good and all, but premature fearmongering can lead to unnecessary violence, especially when it’s only supported by emotions. And given the fact that most of the information about the coronavirus is collected theories, many of us have been wasting energy on being afraid of something we don’t understand.
Pandemics are Opportunities to Rebuild Communities
There’s a link between trauma and unity that oftentimes gets ignored. According to Psychological Science, unpleasant experiences act as social glue within groups. Similar to soldiers bonding together after a war, painful life events function to promote cohesion and solidarity. Bonding and cooperation are enhanced between people who go through rough patches together.
There have been countless debates on whether domestic and communal issues will increase during this time, but I’m going to be optimistic and say that they won’t. We’re all suffering in some way, and we don’t have a choice on not suffering. No one’s getting anything out of being hostile to their fellow man just for the sake of it. So it would make logical sense to come together now and after the smoke clears, even if it’s by force.
Whether the spread of COVID-19 was intentional or not is up to the conspiracy theorists and political pundits, but I refuse to stress myself out. Putting that energy into productivity has been much more effective, limited freedom and all. We can all look at this as a life lesson and eye-opener in terms of our value system. And who knows, maybe this pandemic was a blessing in disguise.
Until Next Time…
Bastian, B., Jetten, J., & Ferris, L. J. (2014, September 5). Pain as Social Glue: Shared Pain Increases Cooperation. Retrieved May 18, 2020, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797614545886
Layton, J. (n.d.). How Fear Works. Retrieved May 18, 2020, from https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/fear3.htm