Just a couple of weeks ago it would have seemed unbelievable that our lives would be overturned; now we think that we may never put the nightmare behind us and return to that recent normality.
Sooner or later, though, scientists will find the therapy and vaccine for this virus. The great change will be in our understanding of the world and ourselves, of our priorities, our hopes, our limits. This may encourage a yearning for an idealized past; more likely, though, it will lead to a new approach to how we should handle the present and the future. This will not happen because some people will choose it, but because humanity wants to survive: To succeed in the new environment, it will have to adapt, to change mentalities, mechanisms and behavior.
Today we all realize the paradox that though we are alone – individuals – we are totally dependent on others, from those around us to everyone else on Earth. In the same way, nations’ fates depend not only on themselves but also on their neighbors, international conventions and circumstances.
The solution to today’s problem may be to isolate ourselves behind the walls of our homes or our country’s borders. But the fact that this is the first time that the whole of humanity faces the same danger, the same fear, at the same time, makes us aware that we share a common fate. And this global, personal drama is playing out live on our screens.
We might be Chinese, Italian, Iranian or Greek, we are all the individual who is afraid, who hopes, who fights, who cooperates with others. When we all face a common enemy, the ambitions of leaders who do not make their priority the well-being of their people – and all people – are pathetic.
Closer to home, how senseless and insignificant seem the petty party politics that are the norm.
We seek comfort in the familiar, in people we love, in religion, in ideologies, in our country. But although walls, dogma, parties, the nation, alliances and other groups may serve as bulwarks, they are not enough.
Today, without prejudice, we can see that beyond every kind of division, we need solidarity and respect between states, between all people.
For the exhausted system of international governance to be revived, it will have to shift its focus toward nurturing free and informed people in every nation, people who will work toward this cooperation.