New Forces are changing the way we Think, Connect, Govern and Collaborate
A tiny, really tiny pathogen has impacted humankind in a way nobody could ever have imagined. Covid19 is so small we would need ten-millions of them to be placed in a row to measure about 1.5 mm!
As I write this, according to worldometers.info, over 670 thousand people have been infected by the tiny Covid19 virus since it sprung out of a civet or a pangolin in Wuhan, China in November 2019. While about 143 thousand people have since recovered, more than thirty-one thousand people have perished because of the infection. The epidemic encompasses 172 countries; and since the only way to reduce the rate of infections by this highly contagious pathogen is to physically separate people, the mobility of over three billion people has been restricted. India has taken the unprecedented step of locking down the whole nation for three weeks, causing immense hardships to all, especially the poor and the financially weak.
How Will the Epidemic Play-out?
The impact of the Covid19 crisis is likely to be hugely adverse, and it will change a number of things that we’ve come to accept as being ‘normal’. One also hopes that since all species of animals – including birds, aquatic creatures and humans – have dealt with viruses for as long as animal life evolved on Planet Earth, our herd-immunity will eventually kick-in, and ensure some protection. This assumes that the virus stimulates our immune response systems as they should. What if that doesn’t happen? What if the Covid19 virus is actually a bio-weapon that’s being tested by one or more nations to gain some sort of supremacy over the world? These are questions that can’t be answered as of now but are lurking in people’s minds.
What if the Covid19 virus is actually a bio-weapon that’s being tested by one or more nations to gain some sort of supremacy over the world? These are questions that can’t be answered as of now but are lurking in people’s minds.
Could We ‘Settle down’ after the Outbreak?
Whether it’s apparent or not, the world has already changed because of the outbreak of Covid19. The lockdowns, the reduction in physical contact with other humans, a decline in economic activities, the use of connectivity technologies for remote working, the reduced movement of goods and people across states and international borders, as well as the rising concerns of national governments to protect their people -not just from other unknown pathogens, or migration, but a host of many irrational fears – have altered – forever – the way we live, how we work, earn a living, fend for ourselves, interact with one another, and spend our leisure time. Not only that, but the world is also waking up to some glaring truths: countries that are developed and supposedly “rich” have also been struggling to contain the crisis, reduce the number of deaths, and prevent the highly contagious pathogen from spreading further. The lockdowns in India and elsewhere have impacted the daily-wagers and the poor the most and demonstrated how vulnerable we all are – despite the many advances in all branches of the Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Technology, and the resources at our command.
People around the globe are also reflecting on this crisis. The number of webinars and podcasts around Covid19 and how to deal with its impacts have also grown as quickly as the infections have spread! There is no denying that people – across the globe – in nations large and small, are trying hard to fathom what we all might have done differently, so as to have prevented the pandemic in the first place. Is there something wrong with our priorities? Are we focusing on matters that are unimportant in the larger scheme of things? Are we becoming too greedy and materialistic? Have we allowed the search for destructive and life-snuffing technologies to become the basis of our economic prosperity? Isn’t that such a flawed, unethical approach?
Many such questions are being asked, and answers are being sought. The collective reflection by concerned people around the world, may not have provided all the answers so far, but I’m of the view that the present crisis has let loose powerful transformational forces; all of which are already altering the way we look at life, the way we live, the ways in which we earn a living, govern ourselves and relate to others.
Six Transformational Trends
The outbreak has helped remind us all about the fragility of human life, and the fact that we spend only a limited and short number of years on planet Earth. This twin-realizationis fuelling considerable re-thinking about how we spend our time, the goals we pursue, the manner in which we relate to others and how we connect with Life at a deeper level. Some other trends are a result of the appreciation that we all are an integral part of life, and each and every human being, every living thing, including microbes, are an essential part of the inter-twined and beautifully co-dependent web of life.
The outbreak has helped remind us all about the fragility of human life, and the fact that we spend only a limited and short number of years on planet Earth.
Specifically, I see six potent transformational trends underway.
- Focusing on What’s Truly Valuable
People across the globe are realizing that the fast-paced, whirligig of everyday life gives us barely enough time to sit back, reflect, connect with others, have conversations, love those we care for, mend-fences, or just do nothing. Restricted mobility is helping humanity appreciate the joys of not pursuing any goals. It’s helping us to be kind, share love, write poetry, and play – non-competitively – with children, pets, family members and friends. If our lives are indeed short, then the focus has to be on being loving and grateful for the countless blessings in our lives. There is also a growing realization that the millions of people across the globe who work tirelessly to bring food to our stores and supermarkets and to feed us, and care for us in myriad ways – and whom we all sadly, take for granted or whom we don’t care about – are worthy of our immense love, respect, and gratitude. People are asking: what would we have done if it were not for the farm-workers, the doctors, the nurses, paramedics, the truckers, the Armed forces, the police, the helpers, and millions of others, who continued to work and care for us as we were locked indoors? It is dawning on all, that unknown people have taken great personal risks to serve us. This is what helps us focus on what real Value is, and what the world will seek henceforth.
- Caring and Appreciating People, Living Creatures and our Earth
People and organizations globally are beginning to understand that all of life is sustained by planet Earth – our only home in the vast Cosmos – and whom many appropriately call, Mother Earth. Caring for our Mother, and all the myriad manifestations of life that She (Earth) supports is becoming necessary. Our interdependence with one another, and with all that life on earth encompasses, is prompting humanity and businesses to rethink their roles, their functions, their purpose, and their focus. While social distancing may be necessary as long as the virulent Covid19 virus is around, people are appreciating the need to enhance social communication, augment listening to one another and mutual caring. They are re-defining what inspires and motivates. People are grasping that the creation of wealth as a goal in itself, without caring for, appreciating others and their gifts and including the well-being of all living things, and our living-planet, will create a world that is devoid of joy or peace of mind. Investors are becoming more conscious of how capital and resources are deployed. ‘Caring for Life’ is becoming a critical dimension on the basis of which businesses are being evaluated.
- Collaborating Across National Boundaries and Reinventing the UNO
Nations that are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and who decide how the UNO functions, themselves indulge in life-destroying actions, something is in a gross state of imbalance.While nation-states are very protective of their borders and make the movement of goods, people and services difficult across boundaries, pressing human problems call for global solutions. The United Nations was formed with the intention of managing larger, trans-national human issues, and ensuring that peace among nations prevailed at all times. That hasn’t happened. Instead, while wars may have reduced in terms of their frequency and adverse impact, the production of weapons of destruction (including biological weapons) has not abated. Nations take great pride that their GDPs are bolstered by the manufacture, sale, and export of extremely destructive weapons of all kinds – that also kill their own citizens! And when nations that are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and who decide how the UNO functions, themselves indulge in life-destroying actions, something is in a gross state of imbalance. This anomaly, and the serious adverse consequences of an effete global organization that is supposed to care for humanity, is dawning on people. Outspoken researchers, Engineers, scientists, doctors, teachers, artists and creative people everywhere, are therefore coming together to craft new ways of upholding and enhancing what is truly valuable in life and beneficial to humanity as a whole. The pursuit of happiness, ensuring water and food security, freedom from disease with an enhanced Quality of Life that also preserves and protects our planet, will gain ascendancy. New business models will come into vogue that will promote sustainable livelihoods and peace. The UNO will undergo a significant change, and give rise to something new, less political, and much more beneficial for humankind. Research into new ways for wholesome farming, ensuring food security, and the well-being of fishing and small farming communities everywhere will flourish.
- Working for Community Empowerment
People everywhere are working with and connecting with their immediate neighbors, and those who live in close proximity of one another. There is a growing feeling of community support, helpfulness, looking out for one another and – as is expected that at a later stage – this would evolve into systems and processes for the joint management of resources and common issues. The spirit of community and the empowerment of people living and working in close proximity with one another will also extend to collaborating with key stakeholders around pressing community problems. Communities that are affected by policies that are against life, and the well-being of all, will be resisted.
- Enhancing Openness and Trust in Organizations and Governments
The speed and briskness with which the Covid19 virus spread, was matched only by the alacrity of the Chinese government to cover up its serious lapses in the control of the disease. Not just that, the CPC and its leaders showed immense eagerness to misinform the world and underplay what was, in reality, a serious and biting outbreak. The world has realized that misinformation, the patent dishonesty of regimes, and the lack of truth and openness, are serious obstacles to creating a more collaborative, life-affirming and trusting world that works together to resolve critical issues. There is already a clamor globally, for organizations and governments to become more transparent and trustworthy, and this trend will continue unabated. Regimes that hide behind cloaks of secrecy and which are experts at lying, spreading fake news and propaganda, will come under intense pressure and will have to change.
- Retaining Mastery and Ethical Control over New Technologies
If there is even the slightest doubt that the ethics of innovating organizations are flawed or their approach and goals are hazardous to life, there will be immense pressure to terminate such pursuits.The ability to work, and collaborate across boundaries, and to serve one’s clients from one’s home – as has been done by millions of people and organizations over the past few weeks of the lockdown– bear testimony to the power of technologies that promote remote working, collaborating and ensuring that business continuity is not impaired, despite crises. Technology, therefore, is a powerful element in our lives and will continue to be integrated with the creation of value for society, and the improvement in the quality of our lives. On the other hand, however, many suspect that Covid19 was an ambitious program of biological manipulation that went grossly wrong, wreaking havoc across the globe. Why did we need to invest in the technology of virus creation and manipulation, in the first place? Why do we even need to create more and more sophisticated weapons that only destroy life? These are questions that many are asking. While the answers may not all be forthcoming immediately, there will be greater pressure on those investing in research and new technological innovations, to ensure that they remain committed to enhancing life, and to human well-being. If there is even the slightest doubt that the ethics of innovating organizations are flawed or their approach and goals are hazardous to life, there will be immense pressure to terminate such pursuits.
Your views comments and thoughts on this article of Covid19 are most welcome. Please share them here. Share this article widely. Let’s get the conversation going. We owe it to all future generations to create a future that they will appreciate, and not curse us for. We are all in this together.