The Virus That Roared
Once there was a planet where lived many species of animals. They lived in relative harmony. That is, one animal would eat the other, but no one was dominant and unless hungry, they left each other alone.
Until one species emerged to become dominant. These were called humans. For whatever reason, the humans travelled to all corners of the earth, they developed villages then cities, and soon they dominated the landscape. They cut down trees and dug up meadows to build houses and tall buildings. Then they paved over the bare areas and invented automobiles so they could move around more quickly. They hunted other animals, often just for fun or to decorate their hats. The other animals retreated and some even disappeared.
Now the humans began to be distrustful of their fellow beings. They fought battles to win the land of their neighbors. They built walls to keep those neighbors out. They became more and more sophisticated, until they had ships on the sea and satellites in the sky to patrol, ready to fight at a moment’s notice.
The governments took care of this. Meanwhile, the people could go about their lives. But they too feared. They feared their neighbors so built fences and installed cameras. They locked up anyone who they thought strayed too far. Others they just shunned. They feared the animals too, trapping and poisoning any that threatened them, their pets or their gardens.
While the people were doing this, a different enemy was at work. A tiny one, so small it was invisible to the naked eye, even the eyes of the scientists. A virus. This virus crept into the humans’ cities, and entered the people’s bodies without them knowing it. Soon they began to get sick. More and more became infected, and with the efficient transportation systems they had developed, the virus was able to travel around the world in a few days. Soon almost every nation on Earth had the illness in their midst.
So the people turned their attention to this new enemy. Their doctors and researchers took over from the government and military to fight it. They did so in an efficient, unbiased manner. And the researchers in all nations worked together. They now had a common enemy.
This tiny virus proved to be a mighty adversary, that could not be dispatched quickly with threats or bribes. But the humans kept fighting and eventually, they managed to get it under control and then to eradicate it completely. This was a tribute to the expertise of the human medical world. But they were not politicians, they were scientists, not interested in power. So as soon as they had vanquished the mighty virus, they turned the governing reins back to the politicians. And they readied themselves for the next as yet unknown enemy to attack.
Píccola says, "What virus? My life hasn't changed at all. And Lamb Chop is still my favorite toy, even without any stuffing.'
A New Way of Life?
Once there was a planet. On this planet lived many species of animals, but one dominated the rest: homo sapiens. At first the humans lived like the other animals, taking up little space, eating and being eaten. But gradually, their population increased and they began to move across the planet. They learned to build shelters, they invented the wheel, and they began to live in clusters. It was not long before there were large cities, paved over with roads, filled with factories that belched smoke and chemicals. The other animals continued to live as they had, but the humans took their space and the other species dwindled. The humans were dominant over the entire planet and bent it to their will.
There were some humans who feared that other, more intelligent beings, would invade from outer space and do to them what they had done to the other animals. Others scoffed. “We are dominant,” they said, “and will always be so. No animal can compete with us. The whales may be intelligent but they must stay in the sea. We alone can live on land, sea and travel in the air. No one can destroy us.”
The gods do not take kindly to hubris. And so it was that one day a tiny living thing, so small it could not be seen, entered the human world. It travelled unnoticed for a while, entering human bodies where it multiplied. For it could live only with the help of humans. Finally, when enough people had become infected, the humans sat up and took notice. The scientists and doctors began immediately to combat the little virus, but it was novel and they didn’t know how it worked. So they put their best people to work studying this insidious being. But study takes time, and meanwhile more and more people became ill and died.
The people were told to stay home, not work, not travel, not visit each other. Many did as they were told. Their fancy cars, of which they were so proud, stayed in the driveways, factories were closed, and the streets were empty. Soon, other animals travelled the streets: deer, coyotes, mountain lions. More birds flew about than usual. Some people noticed the unusual quiet. Instead of traffic noise, they now heard the chirping of the birds in the morning. And instead of exhaust from cars, they could smell the delicate scents coming from the gardens they passed on their walks.
Some people rejoiced in these changes. Others began to notice their fellow human beings and tried to help those in need and to be more accepting of others. Still others did not take notice at all. But all wanted to survive, as do all animals. So the scientists kept working, most people kept doing their part, and gradually they began to figure out ways to keep the virus at bay. Finally the great day came when a vaccine was developed and tested. Now they could conquer this virus once and for all.
The people all cheered and came out from their houses to be vaccinated. And in due time, the disease disappeared from all but the poorest areas.
Now came the question: did the human race want to go back to the way it was or did it want to forge a new way of life, one that would bring them closer to other humans and to the natural world from which they had retreated? This is still to be debated. But human nature being what it is, the human race will continue to dominate, some more than others, and in its hubris will probably return to more destruction than construction. Until the day Nature sees fit to send a new plague: a virus, an asteroid, extreme weather, or beings from outer space.
We can only wait to see. -MW
thia time of Pandemic
Opinion not facts drives the news.
Truth is painful. Lies are seductive.
Human beings are capable of wonders and the greatest of blunders.
Aloneness is a physical circumstance,
Loneliness is a psychological state.
Health is wealth.
We groom ourselves for life, stay unprepared for death.
When the going gets rough, people get tough.
Wondrous biological complexities,
Marvelously imaginative thinking beings
With god-like creative capabilities,
But given to greed, hatred and violence.
Hug those close to you
Keep in contact with those afar
And one day we'll all be together again.
Faster and faster is not always better,
More and more is never enough.
Ever faster and ever more
Have made means and things of humans.
Frenetic pursuit of ephemeral realities
With too little time for our human lot,
Too little time for play and thought
Can only in futility end.
Let's stop this hectic flow,
Let's sit and look and think,
Let's be the end and not the means,
Let's be humans and not things!
All too many
All too commonly
What they choose to see,
What they choose to hear,
What they choose to think,
What they choose to do.
This all too infantile
Embrace of the self
And adjustment to life,
this all too self-blinding
To bear with reality
Beyond the self,
Is flagrant abuse
Of personal freedom,
And social folly.
To make matters worse,
These all too many
Are all too often
Impervious to change.