Why the coronavirus must not make us fear our fellow human beings - Bird Lovegod

I’m trying to make sense of this coronavirus situation
The coronavirus has caused disruption around the world.The coronavirus has caused disruption around the world.
The coronavirus has caused disruption around the world.

On one hand, it feels almost hysterical, a morbid counting of the infected and dead, the shutting down of schools, universities, cities.

On the other hand, put into perspective, it’s just another virus that can make you poorly for a few days or in extreme cases can be life threatening.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Many such viruses already exist. Some of them are an awful lot worse. So why has this one caught our imagination so effectively, does it reawaken ancient fears and memories of unexplainable unstoppable pestilence?

Does it remind us we are not in absolute control of life, and for all our vast civilisation and technological sophistication we can still be grounded by an organism so primitive it doesn’t even have DNA?

And when did life suddenly become more important than keeping the wheels of commerce turning ever faster?

Will the virus burn itself out, fading away as these things sometimes do, becoming less virulent as it spreads, as is sometimes the case? Will it just fade from media attention, replaced by a new disaster, be it climatic or political or some other headline-grabbing scenario?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In time it may be we just add it to the list of diseases we have to deal with, seasonal flu, Norovirus, in the great scheme of things it’s just another thing, millions get sick and die from lack of clean water, lack of clean air, lack of flushing toilets, excess sugar, lack of exercise, excess alcohol, smoking cigarettes, the list is endless. Perhaps it’s because it’s some sort of act of nature, a new disease, how dare you.

I predict the current coronavirus situation will merge into our society, we’ll hold it back, as best as we can, it’ll come, it’ll go, it’ll come back again, as these things do, governed by chance and our collective actions and inactions. When it comes, we slow down, fly less, travel less, produce less, consume less, pollute less, when it goes we go back to a new normal, maybe still travelling less, consuming less, polluting less.

Maybe, collectively, it’s nature’s way of dealing with us and our own unsustainable viral attitudes to the host planet, or a simple cause and effect of ever increasing densities of people coupled with careless exploitation of the natural self balancing world. There’s an interesting data graphic of pollution levels falling in correlation to the virus spreading.

In our sanitised world, the coronavirus is refusing to play by the rules, the main rule being humans are in charge. This attitude is the root cause of almost all our problems.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On a practical level, here in Yorkshire, for those who can work remotely it’s a good chance to do so, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, the major tech companies are encouraging working from home, perhaps more of us should.

But this self-inflicted, pre-emptive isolation is another symptom of our times, we already suffer from lack of real and meaningful contact, are we now to enter a time of further distancing, further digitisation and detachment, no handshakes, no contact, be careful, people are risky? We risk shifting into a perception that fellow human beings are a threat, are dangerous, and this is far more damaging and harmful than a few days in bed with fever.

A picture of a lady wearing a Tupperware box over her head has also gone viral, as has the man on the bus with the Tesco bag over his. If we can be scared into wearing a Tupperware box we need to stop, think, step outside the collective mindset and look again.

There’s enough to divide us in this strange and wonderful world, and it’s usually the divisive aspect media focuses on. If we want to look for what unites us, brings us together, unifies us, then we need to look elsewhere. Deeper within ourselves, perhaps.

Bird Lovegod is a fintech consultant