This article, written by Zafra Rifky under the theme “A Post Pandemic World” was awarded first place at Rethink 2020, the English article writing competition organized by Rotaract Mora in May 2020.
“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.”
The spread of the pandemic was gradual, but here we are now, with our lives on hold, as if a pause button was pressed over the activities of the entire world. Entire economies have been shut down and the new social distancing concept is affecting all of us in various ways. But rather than curse the enforced helplessness we seem to have been subjected to, it is important to envision what a chastened and contrite world can become. And indeed, the time of this pandemic is a fitting time to reflect and start over.
While holding the spot as the dominant intelligent species on this planet, as humans we have shamelessly destroyed natural resources, and been extremely unfair to the animals who share the planet with us. But ever since the pandemic forced us to halt all our activities, nature was found restoring itself, and animals seemed to have found their long-deprived freedom, consequently raising the question, “What will happen when the humans come back?”. While we have had time to reflect upon the lives we’ve led so far, we now have an opportunity to amend our mistakes. Like a butterfly that emerges out of the cocoon, it can be hoped that the humans emerging after the lockdown period would be a more mindful, and responsible species. When we resume our lives in the postpandemic world, we have an obligation to try to retrieve the earth which we sabotaged, and to restore the paradise that we inhabit.
While the animals are exploring the great outdoors, families seemed to be exploring things indoors. Board games were pulled out of dusty corners, old books were taken out of their shelves and time itself was felt to have slowed down. Families that hardly had time to see each other, found themselves spending hours together. Priorities changed. Love, good health and humanity were discovered to be more valuable and important, rather than wealth, possession and ranks, which were top priorities so far. We were reminded of what it meant to be truly human. Undoubtedly, once things return to normal, we will find ourselves being kinder and more compassionate towards our fellow human beings. We will keep in mind how the pandemic affected and frightened us all equally, regardless of nation or race. Discrimination against one another will simply be a trait of the past, in the post-pandemic world.
During the bubonic plague in the 17th century, after suddenly finding himself without a steady job and lots of free time, Shakespeare took to writing. Thus, some of the greatest plays of the century, Macbeth, King Lear, and Anthony and Cleopatra were born. Newton, whose classes at Cambridge university were cancelled during the same plague, used his time to explore his own ideas. Without having to worry about professors’ emails, or video conferencing, his undivided attention towards his passion, gave rise to the theory of gravity. Perhaps, after the covid-19 lockdown ends, it won’t be surprising to see a rise in groundbreaking discoveries in Science and fine creations in art, literature and music.
However, while the above changes are all rather slow and gradual, a visible rise in popularity was seen in the digitalization of all services. Due to the social distancing concept, academics, work, and even the entertainment industry, started adapting to online methods. Online shopping, payment, and banking services became more widely used. There was a clear decline in the exchange of cash. Surely, even after the covid-19 pandemic ceases, the demand for online services will remain intact. It is even possible to envision the entire world gradually stepping into cashless economies, like that of Sweden’s.
While all these changes can be envisioned, they’re only achievable if we put our hearts into it. As per Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, it is in our hands to maneuver our actions to make the world more favorable to all those who inhabit it. Hence, let’s stay hopeful and embrace the changes that come with time, for hope is what drives us forward, even in the darkest of times.