I never thought that going to the store to pick up some bananas would have me re-examine my decision, weighing up whether my taste for the super tasty fruit is worth the risk of bumping into someone who just happened to have the Coronvirus.
And it’s not the fear that makes me have these thoughts, it’s the fact that this thing is out there, and that such a simple act like going to the store may result in putting others in my home at risk, because I dared to pick up some groceries.
So going to the store has moved up the ladder of dangerous activities to the likes of travelling to war zones. This reminds of stories in wartime Bosnia, where people in Sarajevo, in order to get two gallons of water, risked to be killed by a sniper.
Together on TV
What a change in just over a month. A month ago, I did notice what was going on in China, and I did know that it was just a matter of time when the rest of the world would be hit by the storm, but now where it’s here, and we’re having this global lockdown, it feels like we stepped out of a video game into reality. The news are not “somewhere there” anymore, now we ALL have become the news.
Say what you want, but financial crisis, housing bubbles, or wealth inequality all dwarf in comparison to what is going on right now. Now it’s not a corner of the world anymore, but we’ve collectively ended up being talked about for the first time since WW2.
I can’t think of one event that shook our world to such an extent. All others, from Vietnam to Chernobyl, or even 9/11 happened “somewhere”, but not everywhere at the same time!
There isn’t one country in the world right now that — at least to some extent — isn’t taking precautionary measures in order to contain the spread of the virus. Most of them are actually already knee-deep in this mess. And for the moment — it doesn’t look good.
It’s quite discouraging seeing most of the world leaders calling for unity, because they only do that when things are really bad. Their egos usually shine bright when attending fancy G7, G8, or G20 meetings, but right now I think they feel just as lost as the average Joe does all the time.
A humbling experience
Now we know how lucky we were when SARS and MERS and other viruses were around, when scientists tried to warn us what it would be like if such a potent virus were to create havoc on a global scale. Well, that never happened, so all of that sounded more like a SF theory and very unlikely to play out in reality.
But eventually it did, and as with so many other cases, as long as you don’t feel it on your own skin, you don’t think it can happen to you.
On the other hand, there hasn’t been a more recent event that felt as unifying as this one. You know the saying that a healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person only one. I think this pretty much shows why we are all in this together.
All the pettiness, and arrogance of our small little problems look pale in comparison with what we are facing right now. And I don’t really mean the apocalyptic part of it, rather the feeling of collective helplessness — which I’m sure — hasn’t been seen since the great wars of the 20th century.
It’s one of those realizations when you finally understand who’s in charge of this planet, and that maybe it’s time to pay some respects to the fact that we are just flies sitting on the back of a giant animal.
The animal is usually quite loving and peaceful, but if you open your mouth too loud, you might get a slap in your face. And it feels as it feels like: Embarrassing, even shameful. Like a 5-year-old kid put in its place.
But maybe it’s good — who knows. Sometimes such a lesson can do wonders. Not that I’m too optimistic about it, but we people usually don’t know better than that — most of us understand it only the hard way.
It’s not a curse of God, but just a great reminder of how overextended our lives really are. From what we deem necessary and important, all the way to what we deem unnecessary and unimportant.
Burning up time
Like our crazy economy, which has no connection to what we really need, but rather based on the consumption of mostly unnecessary, disposable things that serve no other purpose but to waste time and resources.
The often heard quote:“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like” is just simply the truth. And I would even add to that:
… with time we don’t have.
Every time someone tells me:“Oh, I do that when I’m in retirement”, I can’t but think: How do you know you’ll get to retirement? How do you know you’re going to live another day? You don’t know, no one knows.
The truth is, you might be dead very soon, despite all the great plans you’re having. There is nothing pessimistic or unmotivating about that. It’s just a simple fact.
I’ve had quite a few friends who died ranging from 18 to 40 years, all of them unexpectedly and prematurely. Is this unfair or unlikely? No, it just is. When you step on this planet, you don’t get any guarantees, especially no life-guarantee.
And yes, I’m guilty of that too, but there isn’t a day I wouldn’t remind myself: Memento Mori! For to stop postponing things for tomorrow.
But here’s the biggest catch. Most people understand that in a sense that you should have “fun” as much as you can, because you’re going to die anyway. It’s not that.
It’s the understanding that “fun” isn’t doing things just to please your desires, but to develop into a person who is able to make tough decisions and has the discipline to implement them. Then you’ll know what joy is.