We are in a truly epochal moment in time with the ongoing Covid 19 Pandemic wreaking havoc around the world. While our overburdened healthcare systems struggle to cope with the record waves and surges of the infected, our politicians are clueless and our administrators helpless. On the other hand, the much vaunted private sector has for once, been knocked off its self constructed high pedestal as even they cannot claim that they are “masters of all they survey”.
Truly, the world is in a “once a century” or even an “era defining” crisis that can very well herald The End of the World as we Know it. For instance, we continue to work from home never knowing when the old familiarity of “cubicle life” would return. Next, we can neither travel to another state or worse, even to another city, while international travel is a pipe dream. Moreover, we cannot even attend weddings, birthdays, social dos, and even meeting friends in parties or in restaurants that takes away the comforting feeling of physical interaction and the warmth and happiness that proximity brings.
We lead our lives lurching from lockdown to lockdown never knowing when or for that matter, if, we can return to normal. Maybe, this is “the” New Normal where we are perpetually in a state of limbo. So much for globalization bringing the world together when the only positive from it is our Fiber driven internet that for all practical purposes, is our lifeline. Indeed, what would we be without our Smartphones, the last vestiges of our “window to the world”.
Without belaboring the point, suffice to say that we lead our lives in a Digital Prison and our movements subject to curfew like restrictions. Oh, can we even imagine what shopping was when all that we are left with is “contactless” delivery? Indeed, we are now in a “sanitized and sterilized” world, akin to being in a hospital environs with our “antiseptic” obsession of not contracting the virus.
So, is this the Brave New World long predicted by doomsayers and futurists alike (depending on one’s view of the world”)? Or, for that matter, is this the long heralded Digital Age where person to person interactions are virtual rather than physical? Does this mean that we bid goodbye to the world that we have taken for granted all along? Moreover, even if we follow the lead of the United States and “open up” fully after due vaccinations are done, can we ever be “free” of the dread of the virus”?
There we are, our old certainties are over and what we now begin is a “leap into the unknown” where we can never be sure of the dangers “lurking around the corner”. How do we teach our kids what life was before the pandemic? What if future historians mark the period as Before Corona and After Corona, just to ensure that the virus does not erase our memories (in a manner that zealots of all stripes have been doing since time immemorial)?
We are at an inflection point and we can only navigate what’s next by rediscovering our humanity and our innate compassion and empathy for fellow beings and not by dividing each other or engage in a mad race to the bottom where even the winners have to scrape the barrel for their spoils.
Whatever it is, this is the End of the World we have Known and a beginning of what we don’t know yet, and perhaps, fitting that we would be flipping and flitting from crisis to crisis thereby in a state of perpetual firefighting.
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