After the virus

I’d had a feeling there was going to be something big about 2020, something epic! It just had that feeling about it. Whether because we are moving into this new decade of the ’20s or it may be something to do with the idea of 20/20 vision, silly I know. Maybe it’s the whole state of affairs the world is in due to ever politically divided nations, thanks in large part to the rise of the internet, allowing people to feel more informed and wiser to the nature of things, despite all the indicators that prove otherwise.  It’s the illusion of explanatory depth, people think they know what they’re talking about until you ask for a higher resolution, more detailed explanation of their own views. I am certainly not immune to thinking I understand politics and our systems of governance better than I actually do.

The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT – RC2WPE9DIU7K

I don’t know about you but I could smell a change coming, something had to give. There was a tension in the air. Now it has been replaced with a different more grounded type of tension, one that is not driven by different factions and interests pulling strings, one less divisive. One that’s bringing us together in some part rather than tearing us apart. 

2020 felt like an arrival. An arrival into the future, a future we are now inhabiting. And what does this future mean for us? Well, it turns out it means that many of us are stuck in our homes without visitation or respite in order to ensure we don’t end up dead. Not what I or anyone else was expecting.

What is taking place around the world is a tragedy, but I also see good things coming out of all this, taking place right now and in the future. And I pray to God I get to see it unfold.

I gave up alcohol a few weeks before going into isolation with my family. I didn’t drink every day, but when I did drink I’d drink too much, it wasn’t healthy for me, my waistline or my bank balance. I’m so glad I quit when I did because If I went into this crises drinking it could have become an even bigger problem. Which I suspect is the case for many who are out of work and stuck at home.

For some though, this will be a time for much growth and reflection where we’re forced into isolation without the usual responsibilities to keep our minds occupied. Many of us hate to be alone with our thoughts and are always looking for the next distraction, but being able to be alone is a big part of what it takes to be a self-aware individualised adult. This time for many will be a chance to learn to be alone and set their own agenda if they allow it. You might not feel as lonely staying home on a Friday or Saturday night if that is your only option. There is huge collective growth potential created out of this upheaval. At least I hope this is the case.

Another area where I foresee massive societal change is in the areas of technology and the internet which may allow for greater human growth potential. One where individuals become more adept at utilising various technologies, for connection, communication, learning, productivity and entertainment. Due to obligation and necessity, and a mixture of free-time, boredom and isolation. 

Perhaps our divides will dissipate as we spend more time navigating information, and we have some external impetus to act together and be on the same page. Maybe we’ll learn to better decern information and critique it as individuals, maybe we’ll dive a little deeper into the information we seek, maybe we will be more selective with our sources of information, maybe we’ll learn where and when to share information. And for what purposes. And use that information to better understand ourselves and others. 

I believe this stage in our existence “The everybody go home and stay there stage” has and will help us fast track how comfortable we are with accessing, implementing and using technologies to connect, learn and share with each other, not to mention the implications for the automation of industries around the world and the implementation and trialling of working remotely and from home. This morning I was part of a congregation of people attending church online all for the first time. Good things are happening and I believe we are growing and adapting to our new technologically enhanced world. Perhaps this is the beginning of a great leap forward.

The next generation of digital solutions born of this period could solve problems we didn’t know we had or we thought were insurmountable or unsolvable, and hopefully fix some of the problems last generations technology have created or enlarged.

Mostly, I just hope that this crisis for survival can be a blueprint for dealing with the coming climate and ecological crises. The sooner we batten down those allegorical hatches the better. The future is an exciting and scary place to live. Don’t you agree?

Am I being too optimistic? Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!

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