This latest coronavirus pandemic is an extraordinary phenomenon. It is said that this coronavirus originated from the wet markets in Wuhan, China. Wet markets sell meats and fish and fresh produce as opposed to dry markets that would sell household goods and supplies. In China wet markets also cut up wildlife and this is sold for food and for dubious medicinal purposes. Bats sold at these markets have been named as the likely origin of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Others claimed that such a coronavirus was further altered in a molecular biology research laboratory. It may have escaped the laboratory environment or may have been purposely released.
bats at a Chinese wet market
The way countries went into lockdown, closing airports and ports and confining people to their homes for health reasons is unprecedented in modern times. This appeared to have to do with health systems being caught with under-capacity and a fear that the speed of the spread of the virus would quickly overwhelm national health services.
Policymakers who normally make daily sacrificial offerings to the god of economic growth were uncharacteristically quick to listen to the science and proceeded to slash economic activity. Money was no object and central banks created trillions of dollars, sterling, euros and whatever other currencies, making these funds available to governments with no thought being given as to whether they could ever be repaid.
Large segments of younger people in the western world experienced anxiety and stress levels like never before as they faced what they felt was an existential crisis. A danger that could reach them inside their homes. This crisis shocked them out of their virtual realities and they got a glimpse of the truth of the reality of life on this Earth.
In the meantime, Nature breathed a sigh of relief and dreamed of a world without humans. Nature may well be dreaming of a future without humans and this would not be good news for our species.
One day this pandemic and the extraordinary events that came to pass as a result, will be over. It matters little whether this virus was manipulated by human hand or whether it was released by our butchery of the natural world. This is a foretaste of the future that awaits humanity as we continue to cut ruthlessly through the planetary life-sustaining ecosystems.
Few of us experience a life that we would consider to be fair and just by human standards. We find life to be fraught with difficulties. There is no good ending as, ultimately, we all die. That much I think is obvious. We kill other life forms, plunder and destroy in search of we don’t know what. I believe that the root cause of our problems is that we consider ourselves to be superior, special, in spite of the fact that the reality on the ground does not support such a belief system.
The human realm is just one of many self-organising systems on this planet. It is naïve to think that we can wage a war on all the other life systems that make up the natural world and that they would not fight back to neutralise us. The truth is that we are one of many in nature and nature does not particularly need people. We stand as equals with all other sentient life on Earth. We are immersed in non-human intelligent life that is vastly superior to our own. The truth is that we are not the apex of evolution, intelligence on earth predates modern people by billions of years. What we are is arrogant, an arrogance born of ignorance.
We can of course open our eyes to the truth and we now need to do that very quickly indeed. Nature is not our enemy, it is our home.
The 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer declared, with regards to truth in human affairs “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” The truth is now known and cannot be unknown. The ridicule and indifference are no longer managing to effectively suppress the truth about life on Earth, so you know what’s coming next.
This article was published in the Senior Times of the Times of Malta on the 15th May 2020