Opinion: Earth pushes the reset button

By Daniel A. Brown
Posted 3/20/20

For those with a metaphysical bent, the onset of the coronavirus with its unprecedented global disruptions is hardly a surprise. It was only a matter of time before the unconscious, destructive and self-destructive behavior of the human race caught up with it.

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Opinion: Earth pushes the reset button

Posted

For those with a metaphysical bent, the onset of the coronavirus with its unprecedented global disruptions is hardly a surprise. It was only a matter of time before the unconscious, destructive and self-destructive behavior of the human race caught up with it.

One might consider this a case of Earth pushing the reset button. Our old planet has been around for over four billion years and seen worse catastrophes than pandemics (just ask the dinosaurs if you can find any) but has always managed to revive and rejuvenate. Maybe it time for it to have a season of rest, however brief. Already, air pollution levels in Italy have been drastically reduced, although sadly, so has its population.

For the first time, most of planetary society is having an enforced timeout. This pandemic is allowing us to not only slow down and take a deep breath but to reevaluate our personal, national and universal values and remember what is truly important. There will be the inevitable jackals who scam and exploit and others who will hunker in their bunkers with guns and 200 rolls of toilet paper.

But I believe that the majority of Taoseños will rise to the occasion and be kind, generous and caring for their neighbors and community at large. In his recent address on KTAOS, Mayor Dan Barrone charmingly noted that the biggest challenge for us in Taos will be refraining from hugging and other forms of intimate greeting.

I hope that will be the extent of our challenges. To have our institutions shut down if not fail altogether will radically change how we act and think. How easy or hard this will be depends on how well we are able to adapt. Canceled church services might inspire us to find God in our living rooms and in our hearts. The closing of schools will force us to band together to safeguard our children. No sources of public entertainment can be an opportunity to find ways to create our own.

A greater change will be how we begin to evaluate ourselves and others. Up to now, it’s common to divide humanity along vertical lines, such as man, woman, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Jew, Muslim, Christian, etc. and then assign them magical and inaccurate qualities, based on our liberal or conservative stereotypes, all equally exaggerated.

Coronavirus might simplify such division into those who give and those who take, no matter their identities.

I don’t write any of this glibly. Coronavirus will affect my family and friends as well, and if that happens, I will suffer and mourn along with them. Nor do I minimize the financial impact this crisis will have on all of us, some more than others. Whether the pandemic signals a verdict on capitalism versus socialism is less important than how a local community helps its members survive.

From my experience of living communally for many years, two axioms prevail. For a community to be truly equable everyone contributes and everyone is taken care of. Nobody sits on their butts with their hands out while others work but nobody in need gets kicked out into the gutter. This is not theory. I’ve seen it in action and I’m sure Taos has as well during its long and vibrant history.

As far as national leadership, for those of us who listened in horror to Donald Trump’s recent incoherent speech meant to “reassure” us, it’s obvious that our government has for the past few years been in the hands of the incompetent and the corrupt. Fortunately, the health and science experts are speaking up and making themselves heard so that ignorance, greed and cruelty are being replaced by knowledge, compassion and faster action.

No doubt, there will be difficult times ahead and the not knowing makes it scarier. Hopefully, we will recognize that this massive reset can in the end force us to appreciate the positive values of life and to carry these positive values far into the future.

Daniel A. Brown is a resident of Taos County.

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