The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a stern teacher. It does not speak, but its actions speak volumes. Its lessons are painful, intimidating, and overbearing, but they are forcing us to learn what we should have learned long ago were we not so obstinate: to be considerate of nature and of one another.
At first, the virus forced us to stay six feet apart from one another, as though preventing bullying and physical violence. Then the virus forced us to wear masks, as if shutting our mouths so we would stop humiliating one another verbally. Finally, it told us to #StayHome altogether because we have exploited and ravaged one another and the earth.
Once we confined ourselves to our homes, nature let the animals free and they began to roam where they had never roamed before, in our cities and parks. Nature has reclaimed Earth. Our confinement cleaned the water, cleared the air, and that was all that nature needed in order to rejuvenate.
Without a word, the virus showed us how damaging we have been to our own planet. It could not stand us any longer so it locked us up in our own homes. No environmentalist could ever demonstrate so decisively how harmful we had been, and how beautiful the world is when we stay out of the way.
Now that the superbug has taught us about Earth, it is beginning lesson no. 2. Incredibly, French president Emmanuel Macron has initiated an agreement to back a call by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire. Even more incredible, his initiative quickly secured the backing of four out of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, the US, the UK, and of course France. Russia, Macron hopes, is likely to express its support in the coming days.
Who would have thought even a few weeks ago that such a notion was even conceivable? If anyone had as much as mentioned an idea of global ceasefire in early March, he would have been ridiculed, disparaged, and openly declared as delusional. But lo and behold, by mid-April, that idea has come to make perfect sense to the leaders of the world’s mightiest nations. COVID-19 did not have to utter a single word in order to achieve this feat. Instead, it made us realize that fighting simply makes no sense now.
But when did it make sense, before there was the virus? So, when the virus is gone, will war make sense again? Will people be willing to return to that backward mindset? If they are, would it not be better if we never get rid of the bug?
After we are taught not to plunder the planet and one another, the virus will teach us its final lesson: to care for one another. We stayed away from each other in order to make it disappear, and we want to stop fighting in order to make it disappear, but it will not leave until it teaches us its final lesson: how we should connect to one another properly.
Bit by bit, we will come to see that when we, as a society and as individuals, relate to one another positively, our health becomes increasingly robust. The novel coronavirus crisis is not only a biological crisis; it is first and foremost a spiritual one. It is a transformation from the self-centered spirit with which we treated one another into a spirit of mutual care and concern. This stage in our existence will not happen overnight, but the sooner we begin to work on it, the sooner it will manifest. Then, as in the previous stages, what seems unreal today will seem like the only possible reality.
In recent years there has been much talk about a new world order. Indeed, a new world order is coming, but it is not the domination of a certain group of people or a new world government. The new world order is corrected relationships among all people; it is the progression of the world from a global village to a global family. And this progression is the vaccine we have all been looking for.