Many cultures invent creation stories to transmit how it all began. You may be familiar with Adam and Eve and the garden. Depending on your belief system, you might consider it historically accurate or a myth. We’re currently dealing with a different creation story – a virus.
Act 1: Once upon a time…
It seemed like an ordinary time. We were like the metaphorical frog in water — increase the heat gradually and it doesn’t jump out. Since it started so slowly and seemed like such a normal time, it’s hard to remember a particular day or what the weather was like when our world changed…
Somewhere, a virus was biding its time, incubating, waiting for an opportunity.
It probably started in a cave. Researchers don’t have clear answers about the virus’s origin or progression. They surmise the virulent strain transferred to receptive intermediaries and then moved to human host. Knowing this lineage doesn’t fix what happened, but it will help for the next time.
Not all parasites are bad but some sicken the host. Think of a horror movie — zombies leapfrogging from person to person, feasting and then moving onto the next tasty morsel. A virus primarily spreads through contact — “Tag, you’re it.” One infected person expels and another inhales. We might wonder: Why this virus and why now? We’ll let infection disease experts figure out those answers.
Act 2: Little did we know…
How bad can it be? It turns out — pretty bad. Instead of a few cases easily isolated and miraculously cured, it became a a tsunami.
A virus does what viruses do — it looks for a good home. The virus wants to stay alive, which requires suitable, susceptible hosts. When it finds a welcome, it settles in. But it wants more — so greedy, this wanting more. An economist might call it a growth mindset. Viruses are parasites and can’t work alone. They hitchhike and hijack internal machinery to expand and spread. The host body’s hospitality lets the virus live and reproduce.
Viruses occur naturally and don’t intend to hurt — it’s a side-effect. Harmful material introduced into cells sometimes causes infection. The virus doesn’t feel bad about damage done — it acts without caring how vulnerable people might react. We see things through our perspective — what’s good or bad for me — and not from the vantage point of others, especially something as lowly as a virus.
The virus went from where it started and traveled to where it wasn’t supposed to be. Many became sick. Some didn’t survive. Smart people are still trying to figure it all out. And so it came to pass that the world changed …
Act 3: Now what?
It feels out of control, but sorry solves nothing.
“Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.” Henry Ford
There are different kinds of viruses. Scientists are working diligently to figure out COVID — a physical entity. Health agencies continue to update guidance on how to minimize exposure. We’ve been informed that it spreads when an infected person sprays respiratory droplets onto another in close contact (around 6 feet). Without a vaccine or reliable testing, no one knows whether they’re susceptible or protected. We can limit our exposure or potential infection by wearing masks that cover nose and mouth. A small inconvenience and discomfort with a potentially big impact.
Metaphorical viruses may be even more deadly. Pre-existing, pervasive, and proliferating -ism’s (e.g. racism, sexism, age-ism). Authoritarian spewing and disregard for democratic norms exhibited by national leadership, using social media anti-socially to amplify contamination. Some may still be in denial about this figurative virus. Be assured — it’s a malevolent weapon of mass destruction that aims to divide and conquer. At this time, there are no definitive tests — no scans or swabs that help diagnose and no treatment protocols or intensive care for what ails US.
The frog is having a bad day: A scorpion needs to cross a stream and asks a frog for help. The frog is suspicious about getting stung, but the scorpion is persuasive: “No way. If I sting you, I’ll die too.” The frog acquiesces and the scorpion climbs on. Partway across, the scorpion stings the frog. The poison causes the frog to sink and both creatures drown. As the frog croaks, it asks “Why?!” The scorpion replies: “I can’t help myself. It’s my nature …”
The malignancy we’ve unleashed is opportunistic. It doesn’t care if it hurts US, so it’s up to us. We get to choose the ending. Contain the damage. Vote for change. See you at the polls in November.
© Joan S Grey, 12 JUNE 2020 ∞
IndexCardCure™: What goes around, comes around