It’s a stunning, perfect, blue skies Spring day, and almost impossible to believe that the world has changed so drastically in the space of a few weeks.
Every one of us is facing new daily challenges in the face of the appearance of Coronavirus, and our lives are becoming ever more shut down as fear rampages. But we do not need to be helpless victims…
Today I offer you these potent, poignant, insightful words from Steven.
What is Covid-19 trying to tell us?
By Steven Cartwright, Oxford, March 2020
What is written below is not about hand washing or social distancing or any of the other recommended means of protecting yourself from the Coronavirus. So much has been said about that already. Rather it is about understanding the virus and trying to answer why? Why has it arisen and why now? It seems to me that to ask these questions is crucial if we are not simply to be helpless victims of what has been branded as a fearful and lethal enemy and is creating such panic around the world.
I will begin by saying that I believe there is no such thing as a coincidence and secondly, that everything that happens has a meaning.
Now meaning is something that modern medicine – and the scientific materialism* that underpins it – rejects. Viruses mutate, jump between species and infect us at random. We live in a universe that has no meaning or purpose and it is simply unfortunate that this virus has arisen and is attacking us now. The medics and scientists will eventually perhaps explain how it infects us and maybe how to stop it doing so, but they will never even attempt to explain why, because there is no “why?”
It is strange then that probably the most important question we ask when confronted by any serious situation like the current epidemic is why? – as if at a deep level we know there is a “why?”
Modern medicine is working tirelessly to try and combat this virus on our behalf. But at the same time, they are forcing us to run and hide from the virus, effectively dis-empowering us. How has this state of affairs come about and how does examining it help us to re-empower ourselves and understand what this virus is really about?
Modern medicine – and as I said above the scientific materialism that underpins it – has provided us with many drugs and treatments over the last century. The rise of modern medicine and its wholesale acceptance by society has been spectacular. But why? I think there are two main reasons. First it delivers quick fixes, and secondly it gives the impression that we can have control over disease. That’s very seductive and so we have embraced what modern medicine has given us.
But it comes at a terrible price. Quick fixes inevitably lead to an ever-rising list of debilitating chronic illness, because illness always requires a holistic approach – anything less throws our whole system out of balance with long-term consequences. But perhaps more importantly, scientific materialism demands that we forsake any spiritual beliefs we may have. Modern medicine is based on the materialistic belief that we are nothing more than the interaction of molecules. We are admittedly an extraordinarily complex molecular machine, but a machine nonetheless. There cannot be any room for “why?” in this belief system only “how?” and so no room for Spirit.
This leaves many of us torn between two masters. On the one hand we know instinctively that life is spiritual and sacred and yet we have been seduced by the quick fixes and the illusion of control over disease given to us by modern medicine. But we cannot serve two masters. Either we believe in Spirit and follow the path of “why?” and of meaning, or we follow the path of scientific materialism.
Now if we follow the path of Spirit when looking at Covid-19 then I think we will come to see that it is here to show us something very important, and it relates to the state of our planet. Throughout 2019 Greta Thunberg, the Extinction Rebellion movement and David Attenborough brought into bold relief the choices facing us. Either we drastically cut carbon emissions very rapidly or we face societal collapse, famine, a wrecked ecosystem and probably millions of dead. However, it was obvious nothing substantial would be done to reduce carbon emissions. It was business as usual.
Then I believe something extraordinary happened. From the depths of our collective unconscious we created Covid-19. There was no other choice in the face of the rapidly developing catastrophe of climate change. Covid-19 has within weeks drastically cut air travel, vehicle use and pollution. It has cut carbon emissions to a greater extent than any political agreement could ever have done and will probably continue to do so for many months, even years to come. Yes, deaths are occurring as a result of Covid-19, but many, many, fewer than would have resulted from climate change if Covid-19 had not appeared.
It is up to us now to listen to the message this virus is bringing us. If we listen and act accordingly it will have done its job and it will no longer be needed. If we fail to listen and continue to see it as a meaningless enemy, worse will have to follow until we are forced to stop destroying the planet.
We either travel a path of Spirit and see that everything that happens has meaning and purpose and that we are part of a connected whole, or we follow the path of scientific materialism (and the materialistic society that has created) into extinction. The choice is ours and could not be more urgent.
*Scientific materialism is the belief that everything that happens has a physical, material cause and can only have a physical, material cause. So, for example all illness must be caused by a physical agent of some sort and evolution occurs solely through the random mutation of DNA. Scientific materialism is the prevailing “religion” in the world today.