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.
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.
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.
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-realization is 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.
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.
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.
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