Updated: May 12, 2020
It's been a few weeks since I've written about my quarantine journey, but it was not for lack of words. Who could have imagined that the most powerful country with the most resources would become the epicenter of a global catastrophe?
There are many questions about how we got to this critical point that I don’t know where to begin and, more importantly, there are even more questions on what to do now that we are here. Questions like:
Is money more valuable than our own health and well being as the government would have us believe? Is it more valuable than the time we spend with our families? Are we ready to go back to serving a gluttonous economy by working jobs that provide barely survivable wages while CEO’s on Wall Street give themselves more raises? Or are we finally ready to disconnect from the matrix, and reconnect to the basics of human interaction and empathy?
Only one thing is clear:
WE MUST CHANGE.
We must change our relationship with money. We work to live, not live to work. Life is to be enjoyed. Jobs are to sustain. We are not slaves to the almighty dollar. Money is no more valuable than the paper it’s printed on.
We must change how we communicate. Talking to someone and talking at someone are not the same. We've become so confident with our own views that we are unwilling to consider someone else's. We need to learn to listen to and understand one another more. We need to focus more on our common goals and less on our different methodologies. This alone could end all wars.
We must change our relationship with emotions and gender roles. We must no longer raise little boys that grow into emotionally stunted men, or little girls to grow up to be submissive women. These outdated cultural norms restrict our growth and potential as individuals and impede us from self-actualizing as a society.
We must change our relationship with education. Our school system has been failing young people and, in turn, our greater society for decades. Our children and youth are not prepared to compete in a world of the future. In fact, Americans have been falling behind in education and innovation for three decades now.
Education teaches people to self-sustain. So why are we investing so little into something that is vitally important to the success of our society? Many of the current generation do not even know how to sign their signatures in cursive or read the original version of the constitution. We are not raising self-sufficient, innovative individuals, and this is a tragedy that we have allowed to happen through complacency.
We must change our views on race and nationality. Although children are born whole and complete, they are soon infected by the divisive collective mindsets of race and national superiority. Institutionalized mindsets, such as racism and nationalism, are buried so deep into our psyches from birth that we are unable to break away from a perpetual cycle of toxic societal dysfunction. Division is learned.
We must change our relationship with how we eat. We heat up microwave foods created in factories from low-grade ingredients, and factory farming is so inhumanely cruel to animals that it produces meat with higher ph levels and stress hormones. We're fat yet malnourished, and we have become so disconnected from our food that it's actually killing us.
We must change our relationship with the environment. We know that water toxicity makes us sick and that air pollution from burning fossil fuels causes cancer, and yet we continue to pollute the atmosphere upon which our very lives are completely dependent. How foolish.
Whether you believe in global warming or not, the fact of the matter remains that pollution is a health issue. If not dealt with, then pollution will soon become the next global crisis. A cleaner environment means healthier people. It's that simple.
There are so many changes that we need to make as a society and now is a most critical time in which to do so. Who could have imagined that a virus would pave the way for such reflection? Certainly not me.
As we talk to random strangers on the streets and in grocery lines, sow masks for our friends, and shop for our elderly neighbors it’s easy to see that a transition is already happening amidst a national breakdown.
The failure of our national leaders to mobilize a much needed unified American voice has caused us to turn to one another on a local and personal level. And I think this recognition of interdependence will be our saving grace.
If our leaders won’t help to solve these issues then maybe now we can. Maybe now we can begin to think for ourselves again and begin a new global conversation that will spark the birth of a cleaner, more equitable, and peaceful world than the one we left behind. The time is ripe.