The unbearable lightness of being
This is not the first time in my lifetime that I experience a new universal order of things. It is, most certainly, the biggest shift. Let’s take 9/11 that, for the Western world, has redefined so much. I remember I was cleaning up my daughter’s bedroom, while she napped in my bed. I was living in Sao Paulo at that time, and her father was shooting a film in the north of Brazil. So, for what seemed like a long while, it was just me and my cute Luisa.
The radio was on when breaking news came, “there has been a horrible accident in New York, an airplane hit one of the twin towers”, the commentator explained. I ran to my TV, turned it on, and saw what everybody else experienced: pure horror. Then the second plane hit the second tower. And then things changed, forever.
Like a virus
I remember talking to my father about how heartbroken I was that my child would be growing up in a terrorism era. And I wasn’t alone: the fear spread around the globe in a way I had never experienced before. “Traveling on a plane, just like a virus”, where my exact words to him. Somehow, I made this absurd analogy in my mind, that terrorism was something unstoppable that could disseminate on thin air.
Ironic, right? That brings me up to today. And to looking back at how that “new order” looked like with time: bigger screening checks on airports, no trashcans on major cities, surveillance cameras, social media monitoring, more guns sold with the pretense that we would be safer, and inexplicable wars. We all grew used to it, which brought us relief and segregation at the same time. I think we could have handled it better.
Covid-19 is not the same. It is apolitical, nonpartisan, although very democratic indeed. It is bringing the biggest new order of our lives. Making us think about social organization, priorities, time and our planet. The birds are singing louder outside (have you noticed?), and it is not because they have better lungs to resist corona, but because we silenced cars, machines and airplanes. All ocean animals, although still stuck in our garbage, are swimming more freely and exploring restricted territories. The skies look bluer in gray China, the beaches are deserted in sunny Rio de Janeiro, the highways are breathable in Los Angeles.
Nature is having a break, trying to harmonize the planet again while we are grounded, time out to think about everything we have done. Me, you, us. Every single human being who disconnected from others, from nature, and plugged into the unbearable lightness of being a post-modern human. It is time to disconnect in order to reconnect. Rethink. Revalue.
Unlike what happened with the last new order of things, I just hope, with all my heart, that this one is not about conforming to fear and giving up on human nature. I truly hope this time around we will come out differently, even if just a smidge, but somehow deeply transformed. May the singing balconies of Italy bring us closer to each other and to what really matters: to love and be loved. Namastê!