Reading the news can be depressing. People around the world are sick and dying. Supply chains are being interrupted, leading to economic instability. No one, not even the experts, know what will happen next week, let alone a month from now.
And yet, there are bright spots if you look hard enough. Seeing them may require a change of perspective. There might be some data that you hadn’t heard before. Maybe some positive behaviors have risen unexpectedly. Or maybe you just need to hear some good news when you are overwhelmed with the bad.
So, what are the news stories or anecdotes that bring you hope? What are the positives of the current situation? Is there anything that helps you wade through the negative news? Are there unexpected benefits to what we are going through? What may be the long-term positive changes?
Related questions: When is doubt helpful? What are you optimistic about? How can we turn sadness into constructive action? What makes a community?
5 thoughts on “Are There Unexpected Benefits To What We Are Going Through?”
This question brings up more questions for me. The following is just a handful of them:
• Will people will use social distancing and “sheltering in place” as an opportunity to reassess their priorities. For instance, will we yearn for more time and resources to be more interaction-with-people-driven (i.e. safely now through social media or when safe again and a new, normal type of living begins) rather than being so thing-driven?
• Will “sheltering in place” help people appreciate that they have shelter — a home — while understanding why we need to make sure others need stable homes too?
• Will more of the populace begin to understand the value of federal, state, and local governments?
• I worry about the disruption of the food supply chain. If that happens, will people want to learn how to grow, prepare, and preserve some of their food? Did you know that during WWII, it is estimated that 40% of fruits and vegetables were grown in people’s yards (i.e. Victory Gardens)?
• Will people learn how and where to get valuable news and information? Could that lead to new and stable financial models of educative and investigative journalism?
One of the things that strikes me about the current situation is that I am glad we are going through it at this point in history.
Our knowledge of infectious diseases, and viruses in particular, is more comprehensive than it has ever been. The ability to discover a vaccine and distribute it throughout the world, is unparalleled.
The ability of our health care system, for whatever faults or shortcomings it may have, is way above where we were as a society the last time there was an outbreak on this level, back in 1918 with the Spanish Flu (a misnomer, as it did not originate in Spain).
The existence of the Internet has enabled vastly enhanced data collection and information sharing. It has also made physical distancing much easier. Video conferences with friends and loved ones was not possible even 20 years ago, not to mention binge watching TV shows and movies, live streaming cultural events, or touring museums or other cultural heritage sites.
Yes, our increases reliance on global commerce and trade means that it is not possible to keep something like this isolated to an outbreak location. But it also shows that we depend on everyone everywhere, for our health as well as for our everyday standard of living.
We certainly aren’t lucky to be going through this pandemic. But if we have to go through it, we are lucky to be going through it right now.
Suddenly, a universal basic income (if only for a limited time) is a real possibility. Ideas like a moratorium on evictions are suddenly on the table. Three or six months from now, will we really be able to return to the Reagan-Clinton, debt-driven, everyone-for-himself economy?
We had a neighbor check in on us that we haven’t see in a while. to see if we needed anything.
Taken from a friend’s Facebook post:
“People are making radical transformations, right now. I’ve worked from home for two decades while others in my same industry have driven to work every morning and driven home every night. Every single one of the became a telecommuter in the last week. I really, really hope that they all stay that way.
“I’ve wondered for decades why people have to attend a college in a single location in order to get an education when you can watch a lecture just as easily from your computer or TV. They don’t, of course, and now we’re all going to find out how much better and easier that is for students that are mature enough to do it. Again, I hope that once these large institutions find out how well it works, they stick to it.
“Doctors who always used to require me to come in for a visit (because insurance companies paid less for telemedicine) are now very happy to see me virtually.
“I’ve read articles about global warming and how greenhouse gas emissions are destroying our planet. In the last week, the streets have emptied. I hope it stays that way.”