By now it seems probable, that by the time the contagious coronavirus pandemic finally surrenders its potentially lethal course, or is eternally defeated by an effective and relevant vaccine, the same will have occurred only after most of us have already spent a significant amount of prophylactic time, “sheltering in” (quarantine). The mandate to eschew interactive societal contact for such an extensive period of time has empirically required many necessary alterations to our lifestyle in order to accommodate or adjust to the new restrictive existence. By being home, individuals acquired (happily or otherwise) the opportunity for more intensive family time as well as the opportunity to engage in activities of personal interest.
It will come as no surprise to our regular readers, to declare that we are especially interested in the subjects of human contemplation, self- image and one’s ongoing lifelong inner conversation with himself. In such a context, the solitude necessarily implicit in a commitment to quarantine enables ample time for undisturbed inner thought and self- examination, which time would otherwise be normally consumed by work and social activities. For those of contemplative inclination, the bonus of additional time is considered useful, valuable, and not wasted or misspent.
In normal circumstances, thoughtful and perceptive people prize their limited availability of private time for reading, contemplation and self -advancement. Such dedicated activities, largely expressed in private thought, often tends in the direction of the individual’s mature perception of himself and of his world. In terms of human development, such introspective analytics lead to self -improvement and advances the goal, set by Nature, of the eternally sought and ultimate gold medal of human evolution, wisdom. Enforced solitude has expanded the time for such contemplative and valuable activity.
The conclusion of the threat of this pandemic will unquestionably bring, in addition to, happiness and universal sighs of relief, the return to our former lifestyle, including significantly, the resumption of normal, societal interaction. In this context, we are optimistically, hoping for a renaissance of appreciation for the benefits of natural, nuanced, interpersonal conversation; as opposed to the popular ersatz, electronic transmission of data-like images shown on a small, held lighted screen. Our hopeful expectation is based on the anticipated, renewed appreciation of natural personal contact and communication, as may be remembered, existing previous to the double-edged sword of the so-called, “smartphone.”
We predict that the future reaction to the readjustment and resumption of the former normality, might well vary with the person and the specific activity or routine resumed. As an instructive example, those who have thoughtlessly weathered the epidemic from the comfortable indolence of a soft couch may mourn the end of a rare period of acceptable excuse for wasting valuable time.
It can certainly be safe to predict that there will be a universal pleasure at the liberty to go to movies as well as to the theater, beaches, parks, and sports stadia and dine at favorite restaurants. No one will miss the discharge of the obligations of distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent handwashing with germ-killing soap. Not everyone, we assume, will enjoy the resumption of the obligation to commute to and from employment, to dress regularly in conformance with societal expectations, nor, perhaps, the resumption of fixed schedules for meals and bedtime. However, it is rational and appropriate for everyone, including the stagnant couch potato, to sincerely rejoice in the end of this tragic virus.
Those who had employed the newly available time to engage in elective matters of self -advancement, as discussed above, will, of course, share in the relief and happiness at the long-awaited demise of COVID-19, but, possibly, to some degree, may miss the available unlimited time for desired reading and contemplation
In the present context of the anticipation of society’s response to the end of the costly and tragic pandemic, we are willing to plead guilty to any reader’s charge of extreme optimism, for our following perceived assessment, in fact, of its positive results:
- It provided a “timeout” from our automatic and routinized life, to take a step back and objectively evaluate ourselves and our lifestyle;
- It conceivably provided a needed reappraisal and re-evaluation of the benefits of personal and natural conversation, as opposed to the cold exchange of electronic symbols by the ersatz, impersonal mode of electronic conversation.
- It aided in the universal recognition of the eternal existence of the classic problems, affecting everyone, regardless of political or religious affiliation.
- It emphasized the existential importance to health, of research science and rational thought, as opposed to atavistic, ignorant precepts and misleading and irrelevant, superstitious or religious practices.
- It was an effective reminder that life is precarious and immeasurably precious.
This writing is a product of our armchair musings and ruminations, strategically published, in advance of the termination of the epidemic, and the resumption of normality, when there may be less armchair time for such activity.