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The crisis shows the real value of what we take for granted

A crisis always opens the window of opportunity for something new. The coronavirus pandemic is not only a medical but also a social phenomenon. It is taking a lot from us, but it is also providing a new opportunity to learn and understand what really matters in life.

We have created a world in which greed and profit stand for strong values. However, the crisis is revealing that science, art and education are indeed of utmost importance.

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The situation in which we are immersed today has brought with it time to reflect on where we are, why we are here and where we are heading.

It is holding up a mirror to our actions. It has forced us to abandon activities that were, until recently, indispensable, such as consumerism, and it has revived the values of solidarity, closeness and empathy.

  • MALA GettyImages 1214779866 portishead1

    Stay home. That's the moto of our last days. Photo: portishead1-GettyImages/GulliverFilms&Foto

The first activity that we are having to give up in these times is consumerism. Overnight, we had to give up our conviction that it is difficult to live without spending, that consumption is a given and also gives purpose to our lives. Recent weeks have forced us to face the fact that this is something that we can leave behind.

In a way, this is a test to see if we can find a different purpose to our lives than the one imposed on us by the current global capitalist economy and its promoters.

There is no doubt that, amid the pandemic, many are wondering whether it was really necessary to make shopping, travel deals, low-cost global destinations and more, such an integral part of our lives.

  • GettyImages 523899061 Csondy

    Growing consumerism can also be seen with people buying goods and services to publicly display economic power, buying them just for fun and pleasure and buying without a plan. Photo: Csondy-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

Revival of solidarity values

Sociologists have observed that the period amid the coronavirus pandemic has seen the revival of solidarity. The pandemic outbreak has forced us to think of others, especially of the elderly.

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    The more we give away, the more we gain in the long run. With solidarity we make a world better. Photo: FredFroese-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

There is no room for self-centeredness anymore; in fact, it has been replaced by a care for the common good.

Our awareness of the values of mutual help, solidarity and cooperation is again gradually growing.

  • GettyImages 1138639816  Oliver Rossi

    A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow (William Shakespeare). Photo: Oliver Rossi-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

It is therefore vital that we make an effort and develop this currently overwhelming sense of solidarity into a more lasting awareness that other scenarios are possible and that helping the vulnerable is a value that ultimately leads to the better of us all.

When the situation returns back to normal, we will have a better understanding of what we took for granted and undervalued before the pandemic hit.

The importance of interpersonal relationships, human contact, and physical, not just virtual, proximity will be brought back to the forefront. We are witnessing a period of significant discovery of new forms of communication, cooperation and recognition of common values. The interaction of different professions, social stakeholders, sciences and science in general will be a prerequisite for the successful management of these challenges also in the future.

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In the face of a new global paradigm

The global paradigm should aim to respect, consider and understand diversity. Despite many difficulties, this time of crisis is also a great opportunity to learn about family relationships, tolerance and mutual understanding.

The lockdown is preventing us from running away from relationships.

It may come as a blow to those who, after work, used to go for a drink with friends or followed an evening workout routine, spending only a few hours per day with their family. Such shocks are positive since they force you to get to know yourself, to realise what it really means to live with your partner and family, and why we are afraid of such relations. When the exits are closed, the relationship actually begins to come to life and the lockdown acts as a catalyst.

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    Spending quality time with family does help in coping with challenges, instill a feeling of security, inculcate family values, fill kids with confidence, and much more. Photo: skynesher- GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

In this context, an increase in mutual assistance has been observed. Some nurseries have offered people free lettuce seedlings; people offer books, volunteer to buy groceries for their neighbours and much more. Crises have the power to bring humanity to the fore, and as the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. These days many people have realised that they have many friends.

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Ever since children began staying at home following the closure of kindergartens and schools, the internet has provided a myriad of ideas for activities and ways to be creative, which points to the predicament we have found ourselves in when made to spend time with our children. Why should our day be packed with endless activities or busy schedules? Too many activities have become a substitute for genuine relationships.

It is good to ask ourselves what would happen if we simply let our children lead the way and we just enjoy some quality time with them.

We often do not let kids take the initiative and in a way silence them through activities. 

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Author: Vesna Žarkovič

Date: 26. March 2020

Time to read: 2 min