THE FINISH LINE: Approaching the end of the Pandemic
“One issue that is not receiving enough of humanity’s gaze is the negative impact of selfishness, greed and individualism on our societies. We would not have lost control of this pandemic — and we would have approached a quicker exit—if we humans were more willing to be generous and collaborate."
Contributing Editor Asante Haughton is a TEDx Speaker, Human Rights Activist, Change-Maker, Dream Chaser, Visionary. Web: asantetalks.net
Follow him on IG and Twitter: @asantetalks
As we hopefully near the finish line of this pandemic, it is natural for all of us to start reflecting about what lessons we can learn from this ordeal. The low-hanging fruit in terms of post-pandemic revelations clearly centre around police brutality, social justice, climate change and mental health. These and other issues are very worthy of the attention that they have received, and one can only hope this attention leads to transformative change.
Yet, one issue that is not receiving enough of humanity’s gaze is the negative impact of selfishness, greed and individualism on our societies. We would not have lost control of this pandemic—and we would have approached a quicker exit—if we humans were more willing to be generous and collaborate. Instead, looking out for ourselves has only allowed the pandemic to run roughshod through our populace, leaving millions of lost lives in its wake.
"If we had tried to read the compass together perhaps we would be out of the woods by now. But even if we weren’t, one thing is for sure — if we worked together from the start, engaging in generosity instead of greed, we would not be on the run from the Delta variant and its eight-legged henchmen."
At the beginning of the pandemic, the future very much uncertain, folks in rich Westernized countries such as Canada, Australia and the United States, hoarded meat, toilet paper, masks and cleaning supplies, leaving those who could not engage in COVID-hysteria — due to barriers such as low income, irregular work schedules and lack of physical accessibility — without crucial necessities. Meanwhile, folks were losing their businesses and adults were moving back home with their parents, while others devoid of such fortunes were simply becoming homeless.
It was, in a word, chaotic.
Yet, those of us with the means to work from home soon got comfortable as it became clear that the coronavirus was propagating mainly among those who did not have the luxury to hunker down and wait for the pandemic to run its course. “Sucks for them, but at least I’m safe,” was the attitude. And then, once it seemed like we had successfully Netflix’ed and Zoom’ed our way through our collective ordeal, thinking we were out of the woods, in came the variants of concern as proverbial giant spiders, sort of like when all the apparently dispatched villains in a horror movie reappear later, combining their powers to form an even more terrifying menace.
We had not escaped the forest — there was more darkness to traverse and more giant spiders to extinguish.
Today, though we can see glimmers of light through the canopy, we are still clawing through the shadows of a dark forest, a lot farther from being in the clear than we could have been had we tried to navigate the course together, rather than splitting up and having an every-country-for-itself attitude.
If, when we got access to vaccines, we distributed them everywhere they were needed — for free — focusing first on the countries least able to reduce virus transmission, produce vaccines or procure the lifesaving inoculations, then we would have less giant spiders on our tail and be closer to safety. Instead, those we left to find a way out of the forest on their own made their way back to our path, bringing back with them the proverbial giant spiders. We are still fighting.
If we had tried to read the compass together perhaps we would be out of the woods by now. But even if we weren’t, one thing is for sure — if we worked together from the start, engaging in generosity instead of greed, we would not be on the run from the Delta variant and its eight-legged henchmen. Hopefully we learn our lesson — that taking care of each other leads to better personal outcomes than when we just focus on ourselves—and create a society that succeeds for all of us as a result.