The Pandemic Is a Portal

What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus. Some believe it’s God’s way of bringing us to our senses. Others that it’s a Chinese conspiracy to take over the world.

Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality,” trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

~~ Arundhati Roy ~~

9 responses to “The Pandemic Is a Portal

  1. There are events that leave us forever changed. That bring on a world altered from what it was in a relative blink of an eye, as opposed to the usual gradual evolution to which societies and cultures are subject. Europe’s ‘black death’ was such an event. Though not on the same scale, so it this pandemic.

    None of us can know what the changed world will be precisely because we’re in the middle of creating it right now. We’re among the trees that hide the forest. As creators and engineers of a new reality, we bear a lot of responsibility amidst a world of uncertainty. I hope we can rise to the challenge.

  2. let’s hope that we take some good from this, the slowing down, the letting things go, the return to casual, relaxed meetings with people, sitting in the yard, just talking

  3. Great sentiments. Although I rather fear that humanity is too hell bent on pursuing its destructive path of over consumption to let a ‘mere’ pandemic get in the way of destroying the planet.

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