Since I’ve been home practicing social distancing, I have been binge-watching a show on Hulu called Atlantis. It’s about a young man, who goes looking for his father who got lost in a submarine and is sucked into another realm. The realm is the mythical, lost city of Atlantis. It’s a BBC show and while it’s not the best show I’ve ever watched, I have a fondness for British television and have always loved Greek Mythology. In one of the episodes, they have to retrieve Pandora’s Box from Hell. For those who do not know the myth, Pandora’s Box was given to the first woman, Pandora. In the box were all manner of evil and death. She was instructed to not open the box, but the temptation was too great. Pandora opened the box and unleased suffering into the world.
It was while I was watching this episode, that I realized we are living in a modern-day Pandora’s Box. To say we’re all experiencing something that is unprecedented is an understatement. Yet, there are concrete ways in which we can control the spread of the Coronavirus. Stay inside your house and away from people. Wash your hands. But for some reason millions of Americans this weekend ignored these basic facts and continued to live life as though nothing was happening. I understand that when your way of life is threatened the natural instinct is to fight and preserve it, but so much more is at stake than just being able to go to a bar and drink.
Pandora’s Box is a myth that is meant to highlight why suffering and death are in the world. But I think it also goes to highlight how humans are unable to stop themselves from destroying their own world even if they know the consequences. What the Coronavirus has shown us is that we all need each other. Living in a country like America where we are taught that we are exceptional and we are great, you begin to believe the lie. We are not immune to tragedy, and we not above anyone else. We need to remember that our actions have consequences not just for us but for our fellow man.
I too feel a great sense of anxiety and uncertainty. It’s been in the atmosphere for weeks. It is scary to me that I can no longer go out to eat or go to the gym or go shopping. But like everything in life this too shall pass. I would urge everyone to think not of yourself, but of loved ones who are elderly, and/or immuno-compromised. Even if there is no one in your life who falls into these categories many people do have loved ones, and no one should have to be at risk because you had to get drunk on a Tuesday.
I hope that once this is all over, that we are able to take the lessons that we’ve learned from this experience and apply them to our future. Our grandchildren will ask us one day if we knew better why we didn’t do better? It’s up to us to work together to change our answer.