Why We are Not All in this Together & How We Can Be


Covid-19 has tilted the world axis so dramatically that most of us feel we are falling off the edge of the world. In this teetering mess, a the majority of us are thinking like a “we not a me” by following social distancing mandates, working from home if we can, hand washing and avoiding all social gatherings.

But just in the last week, I have encountered people in grocery stores coughing into the air with zero attempt to aim the droplets into their elbows. And while I have not seen handshakes or hugging, this one singular act of spreading potentially lethal viral droplets into a FOOD store is appalling.

My reaction each time was to hold my breath, speed out of the cougher’s aisle, never to return — who needs that almond milk, after all.

I pondered why this seeming selfish behaviour was still happening. Could it be that these coughing folks had some how missed the news that we are in a PANDEMIC and the infection-spread-reduction protocols that go with it? If so, it’s high time for municipalities to post signs on each persons door like they do when, for say, the water mains will be serviced and water cut off for a few hours. After all, the idea here is to flatten the curve.

And then what about those many folks — despite ardent advice by WHO and CDC to stay home, who in the last two weeks persisted in going about so many activities like visiting crowded bars, restaurants and gatherings, before many local and national governments shutdown the options by mandating that these crowded venues close their doors?

Or today, reading on a private FB group concerned real stories of people who were told by their government to self-quarantine 14 days, heading out to the ATM or a local coffee shop after only one day in isolation.

What can account for this kind of blithe coughing and shopping, or reckless and unnecessary outings? (I have been self-isolating for three weeks now, well before the this was the new norm because I saw this pandemic coming as far back as mid January).

I notice that when I ponder a question, the universe usually delivers an answer in three days. Here is what I was lead to read today, from the Atlantic Monthly article Four Theories for Why People Are Still Out Partying

Everyone knows that guns are dangerous, lethal weapons. If I asked you to raise a gun and point it at a stranger’s face, your heart would probably start to race in protest. But most of us have grown up in a world in which the decision to grab a coffee from Starbucks, or to meet a friend for a chat, was not freighted with deep moral significance. No matter how dangerous such actions might be right now, they feel completely benign.

Our moral instincts have not been honed to guide us well in this extraordinary crisis. All of us are having trouble adjusting to a world in which leaving our own house for frivolous reasons carries the risk of manslaughter.

This helps to explain why so many people have been ignoring public-health advice. But an explanation is not an excuse. And right now, seemingly innocuous activities are the equivalent of raising a revolver—and then pulling the trigger.

So, how can we then re-align our moral instincts so that they are honed to treat social norms as potentially life-threatening actions?

I suggest the solution is simple. In every action you take, think of the person you love most dearly. Really picture that child, spouse, parent or grandparent who you cherish, in your minds-eye.

Now, before you cough into a food aisle or decide to attend a house party put together by some reckless and selfish friends, imagine that your simple unobstructed cough killed someone else’s child, parent, spouse or grandparent.

In other words, instead of a moral instinct, develop an empathic nature.

Empathy is probably the missing ingredient in most Me-not-We actions, but this pandemic means we need to develop our empathy muscles, and fast. The ability to feel and understand another is the ability to feel as if your careless behaviour is direly impacting you and your loved ones.

Simple empathy is the next frontier in what will likely be a new era in which failure to put yourself in another’s shoes is the new definition of manslaughter.

———

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6 thoughts on “Why We are Not All in this Together & How We Can Be

  1. grandfathersky

    Wow, responses all over the spectrum, where the simple truth is, we are all connected, and made of the stuff of the planet. We grow through our mothers womb, the same as an oak or a cypress… and are subject to the same natural laws. What we choose to believe, and how we define those beliefs are personal choices. We can Give the higher power any name that works for our world view, but it is all the same. As Earl Nightingale succinctly put it many years ago “we all came from someplace, and we are all going someplace”. Yes, Lori, compassion is key, because it implies we understand connectedness. I need to read your book. Available on Kindle? Many blessings and good health flowing for you – and all those who would receive it ! -gfs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rickarcher

    I’m with you on this Lori. Our local grocery stores have online ordering and curbside pickup or delivery. We’re doing that now. No more going into stores. No going to the gym (which is closed). I’m enjoying long walks in the woods. Anyone who minimizes the danger of this should take a long vacation in Italy.

    Related to this, here’s something I posted elsewhere:

    One thing related to all this that has been bugging me recently is the susceptibility of long-time spiritual practitioners to conspiracy theories. If Enlightenment is a condition in which ultimate reality is seen as it is, without distortion, and someone aspiring to that realization for decades believes the moon landing was faked, Hillary was running a child porn ring out of a pizza parlor during her presidential campaign, or climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, something is amiss.

    I guess we can’t hope to change what others think, but if we are lovers of Truth, I think we should guard our own psychologies against being polluted by such nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lori Ann Lothian

      Yes. There is the thing where people cannot cognizant a threat u til it is at their doorstep. A visit to Italy is a good way to get the picture. Re conspiracy theory. It’s a way to defuse anxiety — it’s “anxiety binding” to believe that all world woes are caused by a diabolical plot by elite cabal. Not to say that there aren’t plots hatched by evil people LOL. But that doesn’t account for the majority of shit going on in the world today. It also disabuses us of personal responsibility if the real problem is someone else out there

      Like

    1. Lori Ann Lothian

      Common sense must meet higher mind — it is not an either or Boyd. We can indeed transcend our monkey mind, but humanity and most of us are not yet at the place where we can ingest rat poison and be fine, or break a leg and forgo a visit to the emergency room.

      Yes, I wrote this in a dramatic manner to make a point. If there is one thing that needs to happen is the “love and light” needs to hit the ground running with real life application. I meditate daily, I give of my time freely to those who need a bit of cheer and calming, and I also see a need to point at the elephants un the room.

      This IS a pandemic — it is by no means “so called” — In the book I channeled last May, the “Coming Age of Miracles” there was a chapter in which the prediction of a global pandemic was mentioned. The context for this pandemic, I will not not outline here, but rather simply say: the divine order includes calamity.

      So tell me, what does “not fear porn” look like to you?

      Like

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