In times of such unprecedented crisis, when the international community is under strain and the world is striving to defeat the unforeseen rise of ‘the virus’, what’s running the world? The universal language of corona? The virus that has pervaded into our daily lives, normalising anxiety, panic and isolation, has definitely pushed our boundaries of our thoughts, actions and words.
We’re experiencing something so saddening but also universal at the same time. The untamed energy of universality seems to be reaching out to us in diverse ways. While we all struggle to adjust amidst the conundrums of the lockdown, inexplicable toilet paper rush and social distancing, we seem to be revisiting a lost art — the art of kindness!
I do not speak with heightened optimism, but such is the beauty of reality in times of the crisis. The economy is running on kindness, and we are all in it. This long pause right now in the world, can you feel it, where the world is not running under any economic prowess or political diplomacy? The misery of the developed and underdeveloped countries is alike. A wealth of resources or not, we’re all fighting the unknown and accepting uncertainty.
If it’s not money that’s making the health practitioners work relentlessly day in and day out to save lives, if it’s not political diplomacy that is seeking international cooperation, if it’s not free trade that’s not enraging people on border control, then what is it?
It’s the people.
We are putting people first. We are putting each other first by practising kindness. For all the care in the world, we are doing social distancing. We are taking care of our hygiene, for the sake of others. Oh well, we are not even complaining (okay, maybe a little) about not being able to meet each other.
The absolute liberty to just stay on the internet is making us ache for some social interaction. If we could run the world on such acts of kindness, not embedded within the virtue of greed, what a wonderful world would this look like? Imagine, if we put the planet first, just like this?
Can we not keep this kindness going? I am not saying we should practice overwhelming generosity or compassion. That’s probably hard-earned and scarcely learned. I am simply talking about simple acts of kindness. Let’s start with the basic barter system. Let’s be kind because we expect kindness in return. Would that be a good start?
You must think I am rambling. Are we shy to be kind then? It’s not a virtue, an emotion or feeling of passion. It’s an act that some of us might think, we are performing it. You don’t have to do anything or be anyone to do it, you just have to be. We don’t know yet in what beautiful ways we’re countering the ripple effect of the corona, with the ripple effect of kindness. You probably started with yourself, to be kind to yourself, and then to all those whom you love.
Now, make this circle of caring a little bigger; start with your community, your country, your religion, maybe this Earth? I know it’s hard. It’s hard to let go of everything you’re holding on to, and easier to limit your care and protection to a small circle as it suits you. But we’re all doing it now. Standing outside in our balconies, playing songs for each other, and applauding for our healthcare workers. The sense of gratitude that comes with acts of kindness, it’s not hard!
Not convinced yet? Maybe let’s use Pascal’s wager to this. If you believe in continuing the kindness, and it works well for the world, it’s a win-win. And if you don’t, and it works, you lose so much more.
To not be kind to one another when we face collective anxiety and depression is a sad thought. We want more people like you — virus or not. You, who wouldn’t meet your parents after a trip from Italy, even though your heart aches for a mother’s hug. You, who wouldn’t take the train because you have a cough, even though you are young and healthy and know it’s just a flu. You, who wouldn’t leave the country you are stranded in because you know the impact of mobility right now.
Yes, some of us are stupid and have to be told. But we learn. You are performing an act of kindness and someone is performing one for you too. That’s the kind of world I want to live in and that’s where we see us headed. Do you?
We don’t need to start again, we need to change the way we do things.