The pandemic is leaving us with a void deep down. Many of our loved ones are gone forever. Some of us aren’t able to say goodbye or attend the final rites and bid them farewell. Is it all over? Is it the end of the world? Is humanity losing its race? The nuclear, biological and chemical wars are a sure threat to humanity. The pandemics of the past have shown us how dangerous they can be and the coronavirus with its immense power is no less proof. With the whole planet being sick humanity is joining hands to find a cure but the virus is growing stronger by its varied mutations. So whether it is the cool climate or the hottest it doesn’t matter. The virus is conquering humanity. It is leaving us fragile, soiled, scared, and scarred.
The American poet Maya Angelou wrote, “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.” ‘It Chapter Two’ a 2019 film directed by Andy Muschietti reveals to us that our fears can be nipped in the bud if we address them at the right time. The friends taunt and mock Mr. Pennywise which degenerate him physically and emotionally into an infant. Yuval Noah Harari in ‘Sapiens a Brief History of Humankind’ a book which is been translated into 50 odd languages and 14.5 million copies sold tells us that humanity has conquered the planet and is here to rule. He explains how we have created this dual reality the objective and the fictional. Unlike the animals who may understand the objective reality but they do not have any intimation of the fictional reality created by us. Humans have over the years created fictional stories which dominate the way we think and behave. Thus manipulation became the way of life and cooperation a system.
Every morning when we read the newspapers we are alerted about the hegemonic powers agitating with conspiracies against pandemic epicentre. The statistics, by and large, manipulates our minds as to understand and reason out the widespread of the virus and its looming invasion. But are we to believe them? What is evident no doubt is that we need to cooperate. Cooperation is the key to our success. According to Yuval Noah Harari, cooperation has led us to success as well as failure. But given the frightening pandemic let us cooperate with one another.
Cooperate with the time-saving machines to create an antidote keeping humanity at the back of the mind. Cooperate with economists, governments, law enforcing bodies and so on. Humanity is largely capable of cooperation against the animals. But this capability of cooperation shouldn’t be exploited by the Big Bosses.
Individual suffering can be eradicated with collective power and success. What we can do together we cannot do when we are alone. In this war against the virus, our engagement in collective creative activities will be of great help because we are naturally trained and accustomed to believing in ideas and ideologies jointly. And when we share in the ideas we can overcome any difficulty that comes our way. So combined creative endeavours ought to be looked into.
Dr. Paul Kalanithi in his book, ‘When Breathe Becomes Air’ writes, “You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” He narrates how he was facing death with integrity and that it is the way to give purpose to our lives. To face life and death with integrity, as humans we want to relate but these relations break up. As humans, we want to achieve but sometimes we do not succeed. As humans, we are faced with untoward situations where we are not able to decide. As humans, we are left with no choice. It is then we need to be individuals of integrity. Whether we are parents, teachers, religious leaders, political leaders, and students we are called to a life of integrity. We may be like the runner crossing the finish line only to collapse or like the runner who never stops what is important is to run. We may be confused about our ideologies, let us read the immense literature written by experienced people for certainly their stories will ignite our thought process giving us clarity and clarity is power according to Tony Robbins a life coach.
So it is not the apocalypse, it is rather the beginning of a new start we are looking towards, a silver lining with which we ought to begin anew hand in hand as ‘us’ and not ‘me.’ Like in the poem by Emily Dickinson
You left me, sweet, two legacies, - A legacy of love A Heavenly Father would content, Had He the offer of;
You left me boundaries of pain Capacious as the sea, Between eternity and time, Your consciousness and me.
We remember the two legacies left behind by those who have gone by; a legacy of love and boundaries of pain. Let us cherish those sweet memories and brace the future with umpteen possibilities. Let us march with hope, hope sparkled by those who have already fought the fight and have not lost their faith. It may look a fictional reality but let us give it a chance because ultimately we are humans with creative abilities. And it is not a sin to search for a silver lining at the end of the tunnel.
First Published on The Goan Everyday newspaper