Mythological stories are rich with narratives referring to the grave sins of man, heaping down the wrath of the gods upon them in the form of floods, plague, fire and famine. Sometimes these crimes were perpetrated against the natural order of the world and other times against the divine authority of the gods themselves.
These narratives can be viewed independent of religious beliefs, as external phenomena detached from the normal human experience and stemming from a wider system. These phenomena appear with a ferocity and magnitude to shock and transform behaviours. In many of these narratives the protagonist repents, rectifying their conduct only after a process of painful punishment and rehabilitation.
Following Silo’s doctrine, it is possible to see a structural vision of the social world, of nature and of the individual’s consciousness. Looking at the unprecedented phenomenon in which we are immersed, it is impossible to overlook analogies with these myths that go back to the ancient memory of the human species.
From this perspective one can interpret the action of viruses such as COVID-19, external to the normal plane of biological life but with the ability to modify or destroy it, as the kind of corrective shock described in these myths, and with equal unprecedented magnitude.
COVID-19 has not just caused death and suffering to tens of thousands of human beings, but it has also destroyed employment for millions of families. Industries such as hospitality and travel have been decimated, reducing the productive base with its myriad supply chains and services, in a blow without comparison in human history. This is a fire that has engulfed the world in a matter of weeks, forcing the paralysis and quarantine of well-over half of the earth’s population.
It feels both lazy and inaccurate to compare the current pandemic with others in modern history such as the 1919 Spanish Flu. Attempting to draw close parallels between the impact of COVID-19 and other poorly documented episodes of the past as though it were an identical phenomenon, fails to grasp the magnitude of what we are facing today. Neither does it help us to prepare adequately for what is approaching. A world as complex and intertwined as today’s has never before existed in human history and therefore presents a totally unique situation.
When the body of society is affected simultaneously, suffering the same symptoms and being offered the same means of assistance it suggests that like it or not, we are already an incipient Universal Human Nation. As treatments and vaccines are researched around-the-clock by the most advanced laboratories and medical teams, leading industries race to redirect production lines to the design and manufacture of medical equipment. It is clear that this new phenomenon takes precedence over all other world matters. In this collective social experience, we witness the painful delivery of a Universal Human Nation being born.
As individuals across the globe we become aware that we are the protagonists of a new moment in history and we have the possibility to fulfil our roles free from coercion and violence towards ourselves and others.
Incumbent governments in different states and regions show diverse ethical behaviours in the face of the pandemic, corresponding to their particular ideologies and interests. In many cases attempts have been made to capitalise politically on the situation, often failing spectacularly in the face of an overwhelming uproar from the citizens of this new world.
Those who privilege money over life, those who place the state before the human being; oligarchs, speculators and oppressors of all kinds, are now left powerless and trembling in the face of approaching change. Meanwhile, we, the absolute majority of human beings, reflect in quarantine, free from the daily repetition that fills our lives, on the shape of our new future.
As the new age of instant global communication becomes ever more apparent, we observe that when our feverish activity stops the system becomes paralysed, stock markets crash and production and services slow to a halt. This offers a rare clarity; that the producers of wealth are in fact the people, and that it is the people who provide the energy which gives life to the system. Without them it dies.
As nurses, doctors, paramedics and frontline staff work unprotected and risk themselves, fighting on until exhaustion to save other human lives, we are reminded of the real people of this earth.
We are just beginning to understand our interdependency as an organism, where an impact on one area has an immediate effect on all other parts. We are one organism; human life and its various nations of people. We feel the same way, we are born and die in the same way. Our aspirations are similar, our dreams, anguishes and sufferings are the same.
The contradiction and decrepitude of the old world from whence we came is plain to see. We have divided our social milieu and impoverished the great majority of humanity. We have destroyed the environment that nourishes us every day. We have poisoned the atmosphere we breath. We have broken fragile ecosystems prompting the eradication of thousands of living species essential for life on earth.
All these imbalances have mutated in to a microscopic virus that attacks without prejudice destroying the respiratory system. No one can predict whether it will mutate further, becoming more severe and decimating a species that has lost its way and the meaning of its existence.
Life has a plan, an evolutionary direction, of consciousness, of light. That which impedes this direction is bad, it opposes the plan of life itself. That which runs concurrently is good, contributing to life and evolution.
In spite of this collective suffering it is hard to avoid sharing in the wrath of the gods for the damage already done to life on this planet. Perhaps it is why myths also tell that we human beings belong to a race of demi-gods!
Our continued reclusion and reflection give an opportunity to consider that the global financial system and its distribution of wealth need radical change. The continued appropriation of the social, economic and political body by absurd minorities that deny oxygen to the rest, is unsustainable. We must therefore change it.
The protection of our ecological environment is vital and urgent if we want to endure as a human nation.
Our social system requires healing by the careful application of our Universal Human Rights, defined as they have been for over 70 years now.
Wars must end and conflicts resolved within the ambit of a reformed, renewed United Nations.
As individual humans we must each assume responsibility for our own evolution. Only then will we progress to more advanced levels of consciousness, adopting as a precept and moral guide the highest principle; that in treating others as we wish them to treat us, we liberate ourselves.
Translation from Spanish by Felipe Carvallo