What COVID-19 can teach us
- Freedom is a right, but also a duty. Freedom is an inalienable human right, but it is also one of the biggest misunderstandings of our times. What is it exactly to be free? It it a synonym — or an antonym — to being responsible? If you want to obtain or maintain certain rights, you have to take responsibility, take charge of them and live up to them. You should be willing to give something so that everybody can benefit from your same rights. Now, this is called #stayathome.
- Life is an exception, not the rule. It is a biological fact that sooner or later all living beings will die. It is not obvious to be born or survive instead. You can’t take for granted that you’ll be healthy forever, that you will recover from any disease, that medical science will be able to save you. We have no cures for some diseases and viruses like Covid-19 yet. As we wait and hope for science to progress, please remember that we are lucky to be alive.
- There are things we cannot choose. My grandfather back in the Italian Fascist times had to leave everything and go to war. He had to kill men that were not his enemies, he risked his life for an ideal that was not his ideal. He was a young farmer who wanted a simple life: work, get married, live quietly. After that war, many generations (mine included) grew up thinking that if you really want something, then you will obtain the object/person/job etc. of your dreams. “Where there’s a will there’s a way” and similar statements have persuaded us that individual will must gain the upper hand over anything else, and that our life will be miserable, if this should not happen. It’s high time to question this kind of assertions.
- We don’t own what we have, even if we have earned it. There are countries at war, people who no longer know where to emigrate to escape death and hunger. We are privileged, even now in this suffering, we remain on the privileged side of the world (imagine what would have happened, if the virus had spread in some poor African regions). Our physical, economic or social well-being, no matter how hard we might have worked for it, is not due to us. And yes, we may even lose it completely unexpectedly.
- Difficult situations reveal who we really are. In this period of lockdown for several Countries, many are afraid to face silence and solitude, many do not feel at home in their own home. Problems with spouses and children come to a head, it turns out that the time we never had before to spend together was a wonderful excuse to run away from each other. Our psychological problems come out. Unfortunately, in difficult situations domestic violence may explode. On the other hand, now that you probably have more time, you may want to go back to the essential values of life, feel your most profound desires and re-assess your goals. Your dreams seem to be taking a long, difficult run-up right now, ready to fly as soon as they can. The veil has been lifted for better or worse.
- We need to re-familiarize with the idea of death. While our society focuses on success and unlimited progress, infinite growth, we grow more and more scared of death. We don’t talk about it, we often don’t elaborate the fear and sorrow that come with the experience of losing our dear ones. As long as we are alive and healthy, death is not our business. Same applies for elderly and sick people. We should create new rituals to celebrate this passage or recover ancient ones, rituals that are not necessarily linked to religious traditions. We should be able to discuss death, to look at it as something natural. Like any other fundamental human experiences it needs to be accepted and prepared. If we “lose” death, we lose an essential part of our lives, and one that could bring deep meaning and significance.