April 12, 2020

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

By Chris Rhyss Edwards

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Depending on which media outlet you watch, the world is either a scary place right now, or alternatively we’re experiencing a unique tipping point in humanities history.

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Consider the following…

On one channel, civilisation has been completely upended. The rug has been pulled completely out from under our feet without warning, and the world as we know it is irrevocably changed. Half of humanity are locked up in their homes. Coffee shops and all the little things we so recently took for granted have been ripped from our lives for an unforeseeable future. The future looks bleak indeed.

Now change the channel and look at the world through a different lens. Empty streets and closed shops become a clear sign that people are doing the right thing by socially isolating themselves until the coast is clear. Sure, the rug has shifted beneath our feet, but in the most technologically advanced and hyper-connected time in our species history, being shut in at home isn’t the end of the world.

Consider what’s happening right now in Philadelphia, one of the roughest cities and neighbourhoods in the U.S., a transformation is happening. Pastor Susan Wittenberg with the Salvation Army is seeing another side of the city from the violent side that routinely makes the news.

“This city has been rough, violent at times with gun violence and drugs, but in the last few weeks I have seen transformation of a good kind first-hand. People meeting on the street waiting for food, caring for each other. People blessing and helping one another. Thinking of the other person before themself kind of stuff. This has been the most heart-warming thing. Again, it doesn’t matter what language, skin colour, age or identity there is one line, together we are brothers and sisters. What words can’t express, the heart of connected community does,” she said.

The Global Hack event co-founder Calum Cameron believes that this innate tendency for people looking out for each other, caring for people in their community and supporting complete strangers, is due to the global pandemic activating a critical part of our collective humanity.

“What has come out of this crisis is that people are reconnecting. It is the birth of a genuine global movement that nobody owns, but that everyone can participate in,” he said. “We have caught a moment in time at a convergence of rapid experimentation, unprecedented connectivity, and a shut-in population looking to contribute and find purpose by helping solve real world problems.”

So why not switch off the news and put the time you’ve been given to good use: volunteer in the community, complete an online course, learn to dance, connect with the people important to you via Skype and Zoom, reach out to the people in your community that you know need support. We all know the pandemic will end, though we don’t know when, but we can choose to use the days, weeks and months until it ends in ways that will change the world as we know it…