The last century saw a leap forward for Mankind that has never been seen before in the entire History of the world.
In a hundred years we ushered in the Space Age, the Computer Age, the Information Age and the Nuclear Age. Were we ready for this avalanche of knowledge? Were we prepared for the enormous changes in our daily lives? Were we prepared to deal with social and financial problems that were totally new to us? Were we prepared for this huge rise in populations?
We were not - and whether we admit it or refute it, the world was slowly, but inexorably, starting to die. Today’s Pandemic may have saved our Planet for future humankind. Let’s think about it.
"whether we admit it or refute it, the world was slowly, but inexorably, starting to die"
There is always the SAME quantity of air in the world. It purifies itself for reuse. The quantity of water does not change. The SAME water used thousands of years ago is being used today. I remember reading somewhere that the SAME water which washed the feet of Jesus could have been used by one of us this morning. It was a lovely thought but then comes a reality check. Air and water are constant. They neither decrease nor increase in quantity. Populations on the other hand are volatile and have increased during the last century so dramatically there will soon not be enough of these two vitally necessary requirements for life….WATER and AIR.
A Pandemic is drastic but does it not seem tragically necessary to halt a world hurtling towards disaster and stop it in its tracks? This seems to have just happened. Suddenly the air is cleaner. A clear photograph of Adam’s Peak was sent to me taken from the roof top of a Colombo apartment building last week. The Kelani Ganga runs cleaner. The holes in Ozone layer are closing but alas, the Ice Caps are still melting. Climate change is being felt all too harshly.
"A Pandemic is drastic but does it not seem tragically necessary to halt a world hurtling towards disaster"
I hesitate to bring in religious beliefs and overtones into this discussion but as one well known spiritual writer said, ‘It is as if a Higher Being put a hand down and said ‘STOP’ to hurly-burly of the modern circus of life”
Writer Brene Brown tells us we can never return to NORMAL. Nor should we try. We should not return to
normalised greed, to normalised depeletion of world resources, to normalised hoarding, to the normal hate, rage and racial quarrels that have become so much a part of the former world. There is the pre-coronavirus world and the post-coronavirus world and the latter is going to usher in so many changes the imagination boggles.
Taking a lesson from History, let us recall the Black Death in the Middle Ages that killed off a quarter of the world’s population. Europe was the worst hit although many deaths also occurred in the East. The social changes in the West caused aristocracies to tumble and serfs to gain a freedom they could not have dreamed of earlier. Suddenly vast estates had no labour force and former serfs could sell their services to the highest bidder. They were no longer bound to serve one master. A new class was born.
"There is always the SAME quantity of air in the world. It purifies itself for reuse. The quantity of water does not change"
Similarly this Pandemic is going to bring in an unexpected change in our society. Social interaction is never going to be the same. People are going to be more cautious, less extravagant, more health conscious, less given to travel and more family oriented. In a way people are going to re-invent themselves, specially the middle and younger generations
I give below a list (heard on a talk show ) of what Industries we can expect to PERMANENTLY change in the new world. They are …..
- Luxury Products
- Real Estate
- Oil and Gas
All these changes will require adaptability and we had better start developing it instantly if we want to survive. As has been remarked, it is not survival of the fittest that is necessary now. It is survival of the fastest. Forced entrepreneurship is more useful than high Degrees in Education which until now has been the ambition of youth. Versatility is to be encouraged. Unusual talents are to be nurtured. They will prove to be the money spinners of the future.
We have been given (I’m quoting again ) “An Ego Slap by Nature.” Human activities will have to change if we wish to survive this Pandemic. I can think of one change straightaway and that is the eating of meat. Meat is not essential for life and by the middle of this century it is thought that, thanks to pollution, the whole world will be vegetarian….and this is on the cards despite Trump opening the meat packing factories today!
"Populations on the other hand are volatile and have increased during the last century"
That education will change is undoubted. Technology will be used as never before. Such teaching has already started. I know that teaching on-line began at Asian International School yesterday as well as at many other International Schools in the island. Governments all over the world are already bringing this technology to bear on future educational systems. I have no doubt that our present sensible government will adapt the present Education policy and language policy to suit this new world order in imparting knowledge. Education will include topics of great import in this new world. Subjects like Spiritual Sciences are already being offered on the curricula of advanced educational institutions elsewhere.
In the meantime, let us not look back with too much yearning on our lost world. Here we are now and there is nothing we can do about it. Senior citizens like myself have cause to feel nostalgic. We are never going to see how all this plays out. We cannot foresee how our children and grandchildren will live their lives. We will not live to see the new environment to which they will be forced to adapt. But like the opener of Pandora’s Box we can look into an opaque future and see the fluttering figure of HOPE.