Like most (all?) of you, my life got turned up side down when that whole virus thing started.
Now that the “new normal” is somewhat settling in for at least the next couple of weeks, in my case anyways. As uncertainty is becoming the norm I though I initiate a reflection on what it means for our world and in particular for our western societies, how we see traveling and the environment. I think this is only the beginning of my reflection, but let see where it leads.
Somehow, one my reactions was to look back in history and turn to philosophy to try to make sense of all these rapidly evolving changes.
From a historical point of view, let’s remind us that this is not the only period of great uncertainty or pandemic, that we, as a human race have been facing. For one, there is reassurance in knowing that despite the horror of history, we as a human race, are still on this planet. Secondly, from those great schisms in history, great innovations have sometimes emerged. For example, agriculture appeared as a way of coping with great famine in the middle east. New visions of the world have also seen the day following horrible world traumas. For example, the United Nations started after WW2 as a platform for countries to discuss issues and avoid wars. Somehow, I think that there is some comfort in knowing this despite all the human catastrophes happening right now.
Another element to look at, I think, is the concept of balanced ecosystems. I think it has been some time now that we have been made aware that our way of life requires more resources than what the earth can provide. I have recently seen an interview with an astronaut, David Saint-Jacques, who lived for a year in the international space station circumnavigating around the earth. He observed the earth from above and was able to internalise the concept that everything the atmosphere contains is all we have and that all this is just recycled over and over. Furthermore, I would add that also means that we are all interconnected.
Today, more than ever, with the coronavirus being spread from countries to countries at lightening speed, we are definitely all in this together.
We still do not know what all of this will bring into the future but let’s hope that there will be a better world that will come out of this. For one, the environment is better. This has clearly demonstrated that hiding behind economic growth for allowing the destruction of the planet is not an excuse. Other things are more important than economic growth at all costs. By damaging the environment, really we are damaging us. I sincerely hope that our relationship with our environment will be transformed. What we previously thought impossible, is now possible. From working from home to teleconferencing and being conscious of our supply chains. The world needs to change.
Let me know what you think and until next time, don’t forget to wash your hands.