By Luca DiMatteo
I usually write blogs that share a conglomeration of information on a topic I come across, but this is more of an op-ed observation mixed with some insight.
As the number of COVID-19 articles begins to decrease, the reading of what’s left continues to decline at about 29%, with readers spending 40 seconds, on average, reading the article. Fatigue is the leading analytical explanation (ChartBeat).
There has been an uptick in the number of searches for words like empathy and hope. I would venture that this is a patterned movement towards healing and towards looking forward.
Perhaps a new compassion is setting in upon us. I have noticed that while people are keeping their distance (for the most part), there is a unified mood of kindness towards each other. This is the reaction we often see portrayed in movies where large populations are forced to live in unbearable conditions and then emerge to find a new world. Logan’s Run comes to mind. If you’re too young to remember it, you may want to watch it. I purposely picked an old movie to show that the reaction is not a new one, but more of one that we have forgotten for generations.
Human interaction beyond the immediate family is now at a different level. Why is this?
Neighbors are more willing to stand on the sidewalk or in the street, to engage in a conversation. Strangers are more courteous to one another. People are generally thinking more kindly. Yes, there are still the outliers for whom there has been an adverse reaction, but in general, there has been this trend toward empathy.
It is human nature to want to be social and want to be part of a larger something. We have all been deprived of this because of a microscopic enemy, and this brings us to the point of commonality. For the first time in generations, we have been bound together by a common foe. We can all relate to this as we have all been impacted. Do not under estimate the power of common ground. But what is next? This is perhaps the most crucial question humankind can ask. We have been given a chance to regain our humanity, though at great expense. We are unmistakably linked together now. There is no denying this.
Stores will reopen, schools will go back into sessions, people will return to work, how will we act?
Putting aside all the precautionary measures and the fear, what will we do with this second chance?
These are the questions that we must answer. We were a world torn apart by fear and mistrust of one another, and then we were forced (are forced) to fight a common enemy, one that seeks to attack indiscriminately.
Has this experience increased our resolve for a more empathetic humanity, or will we go back to the before and wait for the next rage?
I choose us. I choose to stand in the street or on the sidewalk to converse with neighbors. I choose empathy. What do you choose?
Let me know your thoughts, please.
Author Luca DiMatteo believes that the written word is not an escape, it’s an adventure.
He was a doctor for over 25 years before retiring. He has spent many years working in and around nursing homes. In addition, he has co-founded two personal growth organizations, had his own column and been published is magazines and newsletters. Throughout his life he has stayed close to the written word and has found a way to make it part of everything he does.
Writing Green Haven, a novel came to him in a dream. According to the author, the story, and its characters became alive. It was as if they were telling the story to him. He admits he couldn’t type fast enough and often went late into the night trying to catch up.
“Stories are pathways leading to great journeys. And journeys are what make up our lives. So, pick as many pathways as you can and enjoy just as many journeys.”
What lies ahead for Luca is his second, third and fourth novels (currently underway) and his co-hosting of a podcast series entitled The Author’s Way.