It is impossible that we spend the rest of our lives six feet apart. It is not a way to dine with friends, it is not possible for cinemas, plays or concerts, all of which will come back in the not too distant future. Being away from each other is also not a way to have a meeting at work or with a client. The social distancing that we practice now and for a little longer would constitute a terrible first date, even less a future meeting with the family of this first date.
We are not supposed to be separated from each other and from relationships. It is in our nature to be together. As much as we are individuals, we do and have always been part of the collective. We could no longer disavow the collective as we could the individual.
Being quarantined is not natural. Even if the social gap is necessary now, it sounds like a punishment. You are not allowed to see your friends, or gather in places like restaurants, churches, or your own home. We canceled Easter, and Abby's birthday finds her picking up gifts while driving from house to house picking up items from the porch. No one is going to eat a piece of cake when someone blows out the candles right now.
The tools we currently use are not capable of replacing human contact and connection. As useful as they are, they are a substitute used when it is difficult if not impossible to meet face to face. They allow us to connect but without the same connection as when people meet in the same place at the same time.
Some speak of this "new normal" as if it were a good thing, that getting away from each other offers an improvement, an idea to reject. There will be no need to organize resistance to the idea that our separation is a "new standard". It is part of our nature. Let those who talk about what it is a "new normal" share this idea with their robot girlfriends.
The idea that this is sort of the new standard is to believe that millions of years of human nature are capable of being erased and removed from our species and replaced by its opposite .
Who we are
We are already more separated than what is healthy. We allow the media and politics to separate us from each other. Sometimes there are two teams where there should be one, which threatens our success in the face of challenges like the one we are in the middle chapters.
While we practice social distance, some of us reduce the distance between them and the real and present danger. In doing so, it shows us what we look like when we are at our best and how well we get along, even when we are strangers.
You now see doctors and nurses running into the danger of saving the lives of others regardless of their race, color, gender, creed, national origin, religious or political beliefs. They stand next to infected people, helping them fight the virus and regain their health. There is a capacity for compassion here that defies description or words but presents you with undeniable proof that we need each other. It also says something about our duty to help others, in this case, by not making matters worse for those in danger.
To see our soldiers manage a disaster is to see the very definition of competence and efficiency. How to transform the Javits Center into a hospital in time measured in days is a miracle. Again, you see those of us who can make a difference for all of us, an example that we must continue with us.
Closer to each other
When this crisis ends, it will bring us closer. This will not have separated us further.
People will hold hands on dates, and when they pray together (with much cleaner hands), sit side by side when they eat out and queue up together when they enter cinemas, concerts, plays and the church.
People will have face-to-face meetings, get to these meetings together in cars, and fly to them by plane. We will stay in hotels in distant places, and we will meet new people.
We are going to the park to play basketball, football or run together, close enough to be able to talk to each other, share our experiences and enjoy each other's company.
The more we are separated, the more we aspire to be together. Our absence creates a desire and one that we are unable to deny for long periods. When we are empowered, we will be closer, having an even greater appreciation of being in the company of each other.
This season will bring us closer. It is in our nature to put nature under our control. There is no chance that this virus, like many that we have already overcome, will change our behavior by separating from each other. There is still no correspondence with the human spirit, our audacity, our ingenuity and the ends to which we will go for each other.
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