By Jessica Bursztyn
There is a need to digress and transgress, to slow down and think. To take accountability and responsibility. Nature is the one letting us know. It is doing its thing as it always has and always will. It’s not up to us to change it nor alter its course. There are reasons beyond our comprehension of how it acts. Certainly it’s telling us to protect ourselves and not go about mindlessly dictating our ignorant believes unto others. Natural selection is part of the human equation. It is how we evolve in order to progress. But progress is not necessarily linear, nor goes in one direction. We instinctively think of it as moving forward but what if it doesn’t always do so? Are we able to see so?
And what if pandemics is nature’s way of moving us forward? Casualties are inevitable no matter how hard we try to avoid them. But how far should our efforts go into trying to stop them? Nature is doing its thing and logically we’re fighting against it. We as humans have an unhealthy relationship with death. We see it as tragic. But what if it isn’t? Then the deaths that pandemics cause could be seen in a different light; maybe some of us have to die in order for humanity to thrive.
As humans we have the ability to look back and reflect as surely will happen once we regain our minds. No doubt the ‘beast’ will be tamed and we’ll learn to coexist with it, thanks to the forced advancements in science it prompted to develop. But will we be able to comprehend any of this, absorb it and see it for what it is? Will we understand it’s meaning and adapt to the new realities it will bring and must be faced by all?
No one knows the answers. No one. We constantly live in fear of the unknown. Our minds if left to their own concoct all sort of stories which are not rooted in reality. And reality is critical in times like these because if left unchecked mayhem takes over, spreading fast, even faster than any pandemic can.
Communication is critical at times like these. Communicators are the ones in charge of navigating the abundant array of information that comes their way. They have an enormous responsibility to society. Their job is not to state their beliefs in lieu of the information received, nor to interpret it. They cannot let their egos override the moral code of ethics in exchange for their fifteen minutes of fame. Their responsibility is to inform facts within their real context and not adapt them to fit their own personal views. Plain simple facts and truths, not interpretations taken out of context so that the light of fame shines on them. Their job is not to grab our attention, their job is to inform us with no bias on their part.
As our job is to filter and be very careful of how we share the over abundance of information sent our way. We too have an enormous responsibility towards our fellow humans. Specially in times of crisis we need to be very weary of mindlessly propagating information, because it risks causing more harm than good. It would serve us all well to step back and ponder and once we do, use our common sense to guide us. Look back at history and understand that pandemics have been present all throughout it. There are records of them dating back to Ancient Rome. And the Black Death pandemic (1347-1352) is estimated to have caused somewhere between 75 to 200 million deaths, making it the deadliest by far. The graph below gives a clear picture that serves to put things into perspective.
Source: The Washington Post. Correction: the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS is 35 million and not 50 million as the graph shows.
Humans have evolved as has science. We are fortunate to live in a time when the prospect of a vaccine and learning about viruses is viable, we have the tools unlike ever before to act swiftly. But no matter how fast we do, lives will be inevitable lost. Humans cannot fight against nature and as with the flu, we can curve Covid-19 once a vaccine is available, and even then, there will still be loss of life as there is every year from the flu, and other diseases. Getting Covid-19 is not a death sentence.
This pandemic is not the first nor it will be the last to ‘hit’ the world. The question is if shutting the world was a good idea? and will we be doing it every time a new virus springs up?