Wisdom in the Time of Coronavirus.
“The virus needs people to spread.” This sentence came from San Francisco’s Director of Health, as he recommended “social distancing,” especially for those over the age of 60. The irony is that two years ago, the U.K. government created a Minister of Loneliness to address the growing sense of social isolation often felt by those who are older.
The question arises: how do we distance ourselves and bring the world closer together? Of course, there are no easy answers.
Fortunately, unlike during the era of cholera, in the digital age, we have information at our fingertips. Between stimulus and response, we have an abundance of advice to inform our decisions. And I’m not going to supplant health professionals and agencies by giving you more advice. I suggest you check out the World Health Organization’s recommendations and continue taking the precautions you need to stay healthy and vigilant. And if you want to check out MEA’s official policy on the subject, click here.
Today, I share a different message. Regardless of what the future will bring or the ultimate gravity of the situation (and the jury is still out), I believe there is a yearning for real wisdom in moments like this—perspective, meaning, and hope. And all I know is love and wisdom need to spread as well. And just as fast. Loneliness and isolation are also an epidemic. So is lack of unity.
At a time when we’ve shutdown so much love and wisdom across borders, Balkanized the world into us versus them, maybe this is the time for us to come together with a new compact—across borders and generations—to solve some of the world’s most vexing problems that can’t be hidden behind a wall or a fence or a mask.
In the past week, I have had conversations with people from all over the world, and I’ve never experienced a conversational phenomenon that was both global and local at the same time. Coronavirus was on everyone’s lips, sort of like how the Olympics captures the attention of the world all at once. But, instead of competition across countries, we were all talking about our shared experiences, fears, and hopes.
And I couldn’t help but feel that at this moment, there was also an opportunity for us to come together in a new spirit of cooperation and love—a moment for the world to realize that we all share the same journey.