The world is rapidly heading towards a general lockdown these days, because of the Corona virus pandemic. Entire countries are shutting down, flights are suspended between continents, people are advised (or forced) to work from home, public activity is reduced to a minimum.
It’s like humanity hit the brakes so hard, you can almost hear the screeching tires.
Modern societies never experienced this type of situation. It is more akin to medieval dynamics, than to the openness of the information age. Understandably, frustration runs high.
But, even in the darkest times, there are good things. Some of them surprisingly positive. To such extent that I sometimes ask myself if this pandemic isn’t, in fact, just a powerful nudge in the right direction. A deeply needed switch from a reckless, compassionless lifestyle, to a lighter way of being.
Here are 5 things I find unexpectedly positive in this worldwide chaos which is rapidly engulfing our traditional living patterns.
1. More Introspection
I work from home for many years and I know very well some of the benefits of this lifestyle. The good news about switching to work from home on a massive scale (more or less forcibly), is that other people are starting to enjoy these benefits too.
And one of these benefits is introspection. When your attention isn’t hijacked by the latest joke whispered on the other side of the office, when you’re not spending hours in meaningless and boring meetings, when you’re not in traffic twice a day just to get to the place you work and back, well, something interesting happens: you discover yourself. You start “talking” to yourself (hopefully, not in the creepy way you’re picturing right now, I saw that) and you start to understand (unconsciously, in the beginning), your own behavior patterns. That’s introspection.
And it’s good because it helps you get out of your autopilot responses, which, most of the time, are toxic. Not only for you, but for other people as well.
2. More Awareness About Our Impact On Other People
And with that, we’re segueing into the next positive effect. You may feel ok, like you’re not showing any symptoms of the illness, but you may carry the pathogen that can infect other people. So, to minimize the epidemic spread and protect the health of the others around, it’s better to stay apart for a while. This is called “social distancing” and basically means you’re refraining from spreading potential bad stuff on weaker people.
So, even if you look like you’re not doing a lot, just by working from home and managing your own business, in fact you’re doing a lot, because you stop spreading an epidemic. Other people will literally get to live longer because of what you do (or what you think you’re not doing). This leads to many other areas.
Just by refraining to do some stuff, you’re actually doing good stuff. Just by refraining form being a toxic person, you’re helping the world becoming a better place. Think about that for a while. And then think a little more.
3. Faster Interpersonal Turnaround
This is a fancy name – sorry, I just couldn’t find anything else – for a very simple situation: we get to know the real side of other people faster these days, just by how they are reacting to this event. The combination of uncertainty and fear has two consequences: people respond faster to events, and people respond more honestly to the events (there’s just no time to full around anymore, it’s almost a reflex reaction). And these two characteristics are revealing the “true” face of people, their genuine behavior, which, until now, may have been covered by social compliance, or various psychological masks.
This Corona pandemic showed – and it still shows – the deeply rooted fears that are pushing some persons to spread misinformation, half-digested news or simply lies. On the other side, calm, present and lucid people are showing up, in the same uncovered, honest manner. It’s just happening way faster, and I think this is a good thing. The sooner, the better.
4. More Live In The Now
Predictability is so low these days, that we can hardly know what will happen tomorrow, let aside in 2 months. The surprisingly good effect of this is that we are “forced” to live more now. Like, right now, today. Not tomorrow, not next week. And this is not the result of meditation or mantras, it’s simply because we lack the ability to predict our lives in a week from now, or in a month. Everything that used to be expectable, is not expectable anymore. International flights cancelled between Europe and USA? Who would have fathomed something like this at the beginning of the year?
And yet, it’s the reality that we live in. A reality which, like a map that’s suddenly incorrect, has its furthest parts more and more foggy, leaving just a very small circle of territory visible: the now. Live now.
5. Less Pollution
I confess that it occurred to me a few times that this virus might be an angry reaction from another entity, who just got pissed off by the amount of pollution we generate. And I’m not talking only about climate change, I’m also talking about all the frenzy with which we used to engage in business, in holidays, in politics, in anything. This was a psychological pollution, infecting our souls with pre-packaged life goals (“I want to be an entrepreneur, to put a dent in the universe”), with pre-packaged lifestyles (from the “American suburbs dream”, to the “always traveling” nomad dream) with pre-packaged attitudes and roles (“I’m a democrat”, or “I’m an anti-vaxxer”, or whatever).
Because the world is literally stopping, many of these pre-packaged life components are starting to fall off, useless and empty. Beyond them, the light is starting to get clearer, just like a sunrise in a quarantined city, where everything stopped for a month, is suddenly identical with the sunrise in a forest: clear, limpid and gentle.