As we humans deal with the global challenge of Coronavirus, I am seeing the way systems here in the U.S. are set up and functioning in ways that make the non-wealthy particularly vulnerable. The strong government support and social safety nets we had decades ago have been drastically weakened over time, and now as this health emergency unfolds it is heart-breaking how financially vulnerable most people are. I feel waves of anger and pain surge through me as this reality becomes more and more visible. The need for care for one another in society, caring for all of us, at all levels, and opportunity and access to healthcare and well-being, burns glowing-hot in my belly.
I see my mind focusing that anger towards those who I imagine are culpable and to blame for the way the social and governmental systems are functioning. But then I shift my focus to the fear, stress and overwhelm we are all coping with, the human condition of vulnerability we all face regardless of our position in society. I see us humans struggling so greatly with transcending the evolutionary dynamics that have been important to our survival and highly successful spread across the globe – in group-out group associations and preferential care, treatment and mattering, excelling at competition and winning/defeating, the ethic of unbounded accumulation of wealth and control of resources for oneself and the groups with whom we identify.
Looking now beyond just the Coronavirus to the broad range of societal and existential challenges we face in our future, our human survival and flourishing it seems depend on a shift to emphasizing the opposite of the above dynamics. It seems we must learn how to cooperate and care across group boundaries of “us” and “them,” on all levels of society, nationally and internationally. There will be tremendous resistance to this, and it will take tremendous strength, courage, and skills of the human heart. But we have the potential to create a world in which social and governmental systems are set up so that every person has access to the well-being we are capable of supporting. Interdependence is becoming not just a concept but something we can feel and experience.
My well-being, your well-being, and everyone’s well-being is interconnected.