Good Night, John Boy…March 19, 2020
As some of my readers might remember, there was a 1970’s TV show called The Walton’s. It was a weekly staple during my early teenage years. The show featured the life of a family living in a small Virginia community during the 1930’s Depression years. Although the family was poor, it was rich in love, respect and inner strength. It was a show about the importance of holding on to one's values and morals in a difficult and often negative world.
It may not come as a surprise to many that the recent Covid -19 Crisis will bring about some very difficult times for many people in our community and around the world. How we all conduct ourselves will make the world of difference to the level of suffering to many around us and even the quality of our own lives.
Whenever a crisis hits suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, panic is usually the first reaction. Fear is primal and we simply can’t avoid it at first. Our instincts scream at us to take care of number one and family first. Having said that, there is another way of looking at things. Consider the ancient Hellenistic, Stoicism philosophy.
Wikipedia describes Stoicism as, “a school of philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.”
A good friend of mine recently wrote this piece (Get Ready: The World is About to Need You), which suggests we look to Stoic teachings as we deal with this crisis. The bottom line is, accept the reality of the situation and start thinking how you can help others.
This crisis will hit the world economy hard. No one will walk away unscathed . But I am almost certain that most of my readers will not suffer as badly as many segments of the world population. Whether it’s refugees living in camps or crossing the Venezuelan border, internally displaced people in Idlib, Syria, your own local community’s homeless or elderly population, or just a friend or neighbour who will lose their job, many people will need help. With the closure of work places and recreational activities, we can get back to “Walton’s” style values. This might be a unique opportunity to think about spending time with loved ones and helping others. It will certainly be my focus while I am housebound for the foreseeable future.