The Covid pandemic is racing ahead of all our human scrambling to contain it.
It has been 18 months now, but no country has fully recovered from this pandemic, even though some have shown signs of breaking through.
Still, no one can say the battle is over. Economies have been rattled. Politics is under siege. Society is in turmoil.
Life is no more normal, even though we have popularised the term “new normal”.
New mutant variants are sparking disquiet.
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What is the coronavirus telling us – or is the world at large missing out on vital truths?
First, we must crawl out of the paradox we have caged ourselves in for far too long.
Today, the battle lines are drawn on a dichotomy: while we may want to save economies, life itself is under threat. If we want to save lives, economies will be threatened beyond repair.
What we are quickly realising is that our knowledge is subservient to the laws of nature – not superior, as we had been led to believe.
The virus is not operating in isolation as if it came from out of nowhere. It is part of the whole web of human actions and inaction.
It is we humans who spread it around the world – not the creatures of the wild. The poor bat may have been only a carrier. But it is we humans who are at the root of this pandemic.
Have we pushed for progress and development too aggressively at the expense of living in harmony with nature, which we set out to conquer?
Have we run away with the falsehood that humans know best and all things we call nature must fall subservient to our dictates? Today, we stand naked before the invading virus.
We destroyed our forests. Those who opposed deforestation were rapped by politicians and timber barons. They faced the brunt of the law and were reprimanded with words like “Do you expect us to live on trees?!”
In the name of national defence, we stockpiled devastating weapons of war that could annihilate life forms at the press of a button.
Large-scale agribusiness, in the name of “economies of scale”, was driven by greed. Money and material comforts in life became the defining features of our desire for ‘success’. Having more than our neighbours was deemed as ‘success’. Whether it is education or health or career or wealth, it was all fuelled by the desire of “I want to have more”.
Building the tallest structures, the grandest mind-blowing roads and bridges, and all the other infrastructure like “the world’s biggest this and that” – all this activity has collapsed into freeze mode because of a virus unseen by the naked eye.
It will take the humblest of hearts to admit that we humans have gone down the wrong path for far too long – with catastrophic consequences.
Even if we conquer this coronavirus, it will not be a victory in the long term.
The laws of nature are telling us we have failed the planet. Polar ice caps are melting. Climate change has wreaked havoc on food cultivation. Sea levels and temperature levels are rising. Will not another virus strain bring even more destruction in the future?
What the coronavirus has shown us is that humans are almost defenceless, despite being endowed with intelligence, unlike the animal kingdom, which thrives on instinct.
We stand stripped despite all our victories that seemed so glorious, victories that we trumpeted.
Today, many of us have become the enemies of nature, which sustains life in all its forms. But nature is giving us a global lesson, forcing us to slow down and appreciate life.
It is now a case of either we submit or be vanquished. It is no more about economies. It is no more about global or racial supremacy. It is no more about being the world’s best. It is no more about being the richest.
It is certainly no more about materialism.
There has to be a spiritual awakening among humans that goes far beyond religiosity, if we are to sustain human life on Earth.