This piece of writing is a response to the following questions:
- Will the current crisis change the way we behave towards one another, and should it?
- What, if anything, will ‘society’ learn from what is happening?
From the perspective of an 18 year old:
I’ve decided to call this short piece of writing ‘Elevating the Mundane’ because, for many of us, we are finally realising what is actually important; the entities which require more attention than we usually give. Our health collectively has never been of such high importance until the threat of the rapidly-spreading Covid-19 popped up on our radar. We realised (perhaps a little too late) that our lives were in serious danger from a disease we have little control over. And so, forced in isolation, even meditating to nurture our minds and souls has become an increasingly common way to cope in such pressing times.
Some of us are finding solace in great literary pieces which have overcome the test of time – great poets such as the Romantic P. Shelly reminds us that ‘Nought may endure but Mutability’, reaffirming that everything will go through change except change itself. Artists are best known for this practice and have been elevating what is seemingly ‘mundane’ for centuries (as Neil deGrasse Tyson noted about Vincent Van Gogh’s work) and ‘forces us to reckon it with our understanding of this world’.
Am I saying (quite metaphorically) that the Coronavirus is a silent artist, depicting a picture of a possible future for us to reckon with? Not exactly, no. What I am suggesting is that perhaps this entire pandemic is making us value the invaluable. It’s changing our perspectives and allowing us to prioritise what really matters.
Boris Johnson announced on the 29th of March “there is such a thing as society” which although at first glance may seem like an obvious statement, it reminds us that our leaders truly rely on the public for humanity, compassion and solidarity to overcome this difficult time.
Hans Kluge of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has acknowledged that ‘now is not the time to relax measures’ and similarly, world leaders have spoken about expecting ‘a new normal’. It can be appreciated that people will naturally be against this as it could perhaps include substituting what we consider as ‘norms’ and ‘customs’ or getting rid of them entirely. But I would argue does it even matter? If we now get rid of handshakes and implement wearing facemasks to prevent the spread of this disease then so be it. But, again, this is considering my own personal beliefs where I wouldn’t shake anybody’s hands and wouldn’t mind wearing veil anyway.
Despite this, I am all for doing everything in my power to stop the spread of Covid-19; this will allow society to keep up with these precautions which would gradually be implemented into societal norms, ensuring that the next time this happens we are ready.
Steven Methven in his blog ‘Staying Angry’ states that ‘no matter the cost of this calamity, those in charge will find a means to transform into a useful tale of their victory against the odds’ to which I can’t help but agree. The deaths of Covid-19 will be boiled down to nothing but a statistic and those how have lost someone close to them will be painfully reminded that “this disease has affected everybody in the entire world”. This shouldn’t be a politicised tragedy in the near future or simply just a case study for future generations only to expect that nothing like this will ever happen again.
The way we interact with each other about this pandemic in the future is to be more mindful and certainly be more sympathetic with those who have been but in an increasingly difficult position of having lost someone to this ‘invisible killer’ (in the words of Donald Trump) instead of sweeping this entire period under the rug only to pretend it can’t happen again.