It has been two months now since most of us have been in lockdown over the Coronavirus, and many of us are out of work. Those of us who are still at work are in many cases risking contracting the disease by continuing to work. We have been through shock, grief, and suffering, and many are still having difficulty accepting that the world as we know it has changed. In the news now is talk of “opening the country”, allowing some businesses, closed because of the necessity of close contact between people to operate, to re-open, and the people employed by those businesses to return to work. The issue is polarized. On the one hand we have those who prioritize economic activity, and who are sometimes even willing to take up arms to force state governments to “re-open”. On the other side, we hear the warnings from those who are looking to scientific advice to avoid as much as possible themselves and others contracting the virus. Those scientists warn that “opening” too early will serve only to spur a resurgence of cases of Covid19 and lead to higher death rates. Both sides have valid points, and neither side has the full story.
Three important aspects in particular are not being mentioned. For a successful recovery of the country, human societies, and the Earth, these aspects need to be understood and internalized. One is that our world has permanently changed, in that we cannot, ever, return to the way things were before the virus. For better or for worse, things will be different. Another is that the virus, irrespective of how specifically it came to be, is a direct result of the negativity we have created upon the Earth, in our human societies, among the plant and animal denizens with whom we share our planet, and within the physical Earth itself. Unless we cease creating the negativity and mitigate the damage we have caused, we will continue to experience disasters, and even more viruses. The permafrost is currently melting; as it continues to melt, it will release ancient viruses it has stored in frozen limbo from ages ago. We are no longer immune to these. And last, we need to fully understand that the future that will emerge will be a creation of our collective consciousness. The thoughts of mystics and visionaries, activists, workers who tend to the Earth and to each other, lovers of the Earth, lovers of technology, the apathetic who want to receive good while putting little out, the pessimistic who believe we are already on a path of destruction – these thoughts will all merge to create an outcome proportionate to their prevalence in the common subconscious. We need to make those thoughts conscious, look at them, decide if this is a future we want, and have a real conversation about them. To neglect to do this will almost certainly bring us results we will find we do not want.
There is no lack in literature and among the people concerning visions of what may be. There are visions of catastrophic occurrences that throw us all back to prehistoric hunter-gatherer times. There are visions of highly technologically developed societies, a la Brave New World or the evolved (and often invisible) citizens of otherworld cultures, as in the Star Trek series. There is the thrust towards an ever-larger organization of a World Government (without a plan of how this will not be an overarching force to make all people conform). There is the proposition of no big government at all, only many small self-governing groups cooperating with each other (and not completely acknowledging how we will all need to grow in the ability to peaceably get along). There are plans for grand cities, and thoughts of rural life. The story of Oversoul Seven shows most people in a domed city surrounded by complete wilderness which is inhabited by a few secluded people who have managed to adjust. The author Richard Bach predicts a possible future of people who have converted their bodies into robots of themselves and uploaded their consciousnesses so as to be able to withstand a polluted Earth and care for the remaining animals, who live under a dome. Religious prophecies foretell times of great tribulation followed by a time of reward.
Whatever outcome one envisions, there are underlying principles which need to be accepted in order to heal the Earth and ourselves and construct any kind of stable future. We need first to recognize the very basis of our life, named by many with many names, the Creative Energy from which we are all formed; it is the substance which comprises and sustains the cosmos, the Earth, Nature, the plant and animal life on Earth, and humans as well. There are patterns to that Energy, called perhaps laws of creation; they are the way that life functions. We may learn from them and develop technology which is consistent and cooperative with them, so that we may more efficiently follow those patterns to support all life on Earth. We may not use our technology to dominate Nature and to go against it when we think that will be more convenient to us, or more exciting. When we try to conquer Nature and take its riches for ourselves, we destroy it. Technology is a wonderful tool, used correctly; it is not God, and it will not save us, nor spare us from making changes.
We need to evolve from the either-or attitude that we are all the same and all have to agree about what is and what we are to do, or the alternative attitude that anyone who is different from ourselves is an enemy. We need to accept that we are created different, and that it is possible to respect who/what is different from ourselves and acknowledge it as a creation of the Source. In floral terms, we are not all roses. We are daisies, sunflowers, violets, azaleas, begonias, honeysuckles, four-o-clocks, morning glories, baby’s breath, Queen Anne’s lace, marigolds, and many others. We do not have to be the same, and we do not have to think alike and agree. We do need to hear and honor each other, and to refrain from physical or verbal (or even mental) violence against each other, focusing on cooperation rather than competition and fear. Especially, we need to avoid fear. Priests and philosophers for ages have given us the message to “Fear not”.
We need to move beyond war as a means to settle differences. This is a direct outcome of the above. If we cease to fear each other and truly respect each other, much of the motive for war will be gone. We need to abstain from the ideas that war is honorable, or that one side is right and the other side wrong, or that war is justified. Our animal heritage might tell us that we need to fight over mating rights or territory. I think we have grown beyond that, and we need to now renounce those thoughts. A positive world cannot be created while war exists.
In addition, we need to cease making war on life itself. We need to carefully watch ourselves to ensure that we are celebrating the life we are given and of which we are a part, declining to participate in its destruction in any form. We will not by consuming destroy the Earth or the plants and animals on it. We will not destroy our babies or our elderly. We will live as healthy lifestyles as possible. If we do not wish ourselves to be conduits of life, then we will not conceive it. We will not pollute the land or sea. We will not destroy our protective atmosphere. Instead, we will embrace and honor life. We cannot create a positive future if we continue our habit of killing what is not convenient or what we do not like.
We need to shift the current economic inequities, which leave some people without the basic means of survival and shower others with more than they could ever need. This needs to be an adjustment to our thinking and our beliefs, not simply governmental action that will measure, regulate, watch, and punish to ensure everyone is complying with rules designed to avoid greed and want. It needs to come from our hearts, our love of life and respect for each other, and from abstaining from collecting more than we need. It needs to come from attitudes of cooperation, rather than competition. Perhaps this is more easily done in small groups of tribal size, but it is not impossible in cities. We also need, each of us, to grow a part of our subsistence, and create part of the energy we consume. Whether this involves restorative farms, small indoor or roof gardens, closed systems of waste disposal/use and resource generation, or other creative means, it is up to each of us to participate personally in some small way. We need to let go of the idea that we are privileged above others, and that it is someone else’s job to give us what we need. Concurrently, we need to take the responsibility of governing ourselves, individually and in small groups.
We need to learn to listen. We need to listen to ourselves, to nature, to the mystic overarching Energy, to the wind and the waves, to our hearts. We need to build into our systems time to reflect, to pay attention to what we hear, to share our insights, and to listen to each other – really listen, even if we do not agree. We need to carve from our busy-ness the time to be still. We need this time to, at least for the moment, understand what it is to be satisfied and what it is to be grateful. We need to cultivate these attitudes.
I’m sure others may come up with more parameters; these are the ones I now see. Whether we exist in vertically built cities surrounded by undeveloped land, or in small groups in clustered homes with the surrounding land farmed or wild (there are currently prototype groups that do this sustainably and self-sufficiently), or in whatever other form we envision, the principles above need be applied. They are basic as we move forward.
Are we ready to answer the wake-up call, to let go of the past, have the needed conversations, and move forward to a more just and compassionate society and a healed Earth? I hope we are. We cannot sleep our way to it. Let those of us who are awake each wake up at least one other and put our shoulders to the task of creating what we wish to emerge from the wreckage of the past and the tribulation of the coronavirus.