People around the world have demonstrated heroic strength during the coronavirus pandemic, but it has revealed profound weaknesses in society. Widening gaps in income, wealth and opportunity in the years before the virus hit left everyone more vulnerable to the disease and the attendant chaos. The coronavirus pandemic has proven again the incomplete nature of democracies — the great distance between the realities of life and death in their societies and the values enunciated in their founding documents.
The difference today is that this pandemic has obliged us to be set apart – “social distancing”. And the need for human connection is suddenly being sorely missed. And for solidarity. More than ever before, people realize today the incalculable toll of socio-economic divides in our societies, and how the pandemic is exacerbating them.
Yet the devastation of the pandemic has also created an opportunity to begin to put things right, to ensure that societies emerge more equitable, sustainable, and resilient. While the crucible of this crisis provides the opportunity to forge better societies, the crisis itself does not do the work. Crises expose problems, but they do not supply solutions. And nations often pass through the same kinds of crises repeatedly, unable to imagine a different path or unwilling to walk it.
A vision for an alternative way of being starts with a belief in the infinite dignity of each human person and sees people embedded in webs of trustful and interdependent connections — to one another and to all creation. It celebrates the individual and the whole together. The most relevant unit of society is not the individual but the entire human family.
Our goal is for that revelation to stay with us beyond the many months that this crisis will. At stake is not just our health but our humanity. We envision a more equitable and prosper society for all of us. A society of human connections and not transactions.
In the last century we have been reduced to machines. Humans have been underrated.
Let’s change this.