The pandemic has given us an unprecedented opportunity for self-reflection
The coronavirus has made significant impacts on our daily lives. Physical distancing and other preventive measures have resulted in a lockdown situation all over the world, which has ultimately forced us to leave our daily activities and stay at home. However, such distancing and staying at home offer us many unprecedented opportunities to learn.
We are getting busier day by day as our involvement with people increases because of technological devices. In spite of that, we prefer to spend our little free time outside our home with friends or family. However, the ongoing health crisis has forced us to not go out unless it is really necessary, so we have had to stay at home whether we like it or not.
“Know thyself” is a famous quote by the great philosopher Socrates, who emphasized acquiring a better understanding of ourselves. Being quarantined, for some, leaves us with a lot of “me time” on our hands. As our social interaction is limited, it is up to us to ensure our own sanity. Such an opportunity helps us develop the relationships we have with our own selves, and eventually know who we are and what we are capable of.
People living in a society have been isolated due to a global crisis, and therefore, social interaction has come to a halt. Many of the world’s functions have almost stopped or slowed down, as we have to keep physical distance and can’t work together. Furthermore, not having the opportunity to share our feelings, views, and thoughts has paralyzed the socialization process.
Aside from that, it also proves that the creation and development of the existing world order would never be possible if societal values such as social connections and social bonding didn’t take place. What we have achieved now is the result of what we fought for with mutual respect and mutual cooperation since the beginning of human civilization. It is the outcome of a team effort that people chose to make instead of only focusing on individualism. And this is how Aristotle’s “man is a social animal” works.
Almost all tiers of educational institutions over the world are closed due to the current pandemic. Our excessive attraction towards mainstream education makes us extremely institution-centric, and thus, we forget that nature has a lot of things to offer us. Most theories that brought about the academic development of philosophy, science, history, or politics did not come from institutional learnings; rather, the people who invented them took lessons from their surroundings.
Fortunately, this quarantine period gives us the opportunity to get closer to the environment and observe what is happening around us. It sharpens our thought processes and develops critical reasoning. As the history of great innovations tells us, the underlying and inherent circumstances of our nature play a vital role in our non-formal education.
Think about the things we were hoping for before the crisis came to be, and think about the things we hope to get now -- a huge difference. The changes in our mindset come from the lessons we have learned over the last few months. We don’t always want what we really need because we don’t always realize what our real necessities are.
We need to understand that our priority lists can’t always save us, they’re often not enough for us to survive on. Quarantine has taught us a very important lesson: People shouldn’t only run after the things they want -- they should also run after the things they really need.
Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury is a freelance contributor.