Since March the world is gripped by the Corona virus and a growing polarisation is occurring between supporters and critics of the implemented measures and planned vaccination of the people. Supporters berate the critics and call them conspiracy theorists and lunatics, critics tell everyone to wake up and call the supporters sheep.
A healthy discussion where respect and the willingness to listen to others with a contrasting view has become almost impossible over the last couple of months. On social media the discussions harden and various manipulation techniques are used to persuade the people to take a side or change sides.
In the last months I myself have regularly been seduced into picking a side and I’ve been stirred up on many occasions by instigating posts and articles. Every now and again I’ve had great difficulty in listening to people with a different opinion while staying aware of their value to me as a friend, family member and human being. Where previously I would have been fascinated and open minded as I engaged in a conversation with someone with an opposing view I now found myself in a me versus them attitude in discussions and conversations.
This all changed when I talked to a friend of mine who has lived in Africa. While she was living there she saw children die of diseases that were easily treatable and almost eradicated in Europe. She has volunteered to participate in the trial for the Corona vaccine because she wants to give everyone a chance to have a healthy life. I realised in that moment that both the supporters and the critics want the same thing, that everyone has a chance to live a healthy life.
This conversation took the sting out of the whole discussion for me, both sides have the same goal in mind, to give every human being the chance to live a healthy life. We just have opposing ideas on how to achieve this and lose track of the kindness towards our neighbours, friends and family that is necessary to get there.
Ultimately each one of us is walking their own path and on this path we each have our own experiences, truths and challenges. Who am I or who are you to pass judgement on someone else’s view on the world? In all the turbulence of camps, statistics, truths and manipulations it is important to remember that we all want the same thing, to live a happy and healthy life.
The only way out of this polarisation is the willingness to keep seeing every individual as a person that is walking their own path. A path that is coloured with experiences of which we can’t know the impact or the wisdom it has brought them. Fear of death is a strong motivator as is the fear of losing your freedom. In both instances the fire of our inner righteousness is fuelled, because both of those fears are coming true simultaneously. Covid 19 is killing people and the measurements that have been taken by the government are taking away our freedom while the right of free speech is being taken away by various social media outlets.
In both corners people are trying to keep the community safe, we all care for each other and want to ensure a future that will have each one of us thriving, happy and healthy. Seeing this frightening scenario being played out in front of our eyes is inhibiting us to acknowledge the care and wisdom that comes from the other person’s heart. With all these fears running wild we’ve lost the kindness that is necessary to ensure a basic level of respect.
Right now we are all invited to overcome our fears or at least keep them in check, because fear stresses our body and stress weakens our immune system, which makes us more susceptible to all kind of diseases. The way I see it there is one truth we can collectively embrace, that fear is our only enemy.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who gave us the following quote we must all take to heart in these challenging times: “The enemy is fear. We think it’s hate; But, it is fear.”