Ire and frustration have erupted into the streets of Europe. Anti-lockdown protests and raging clashes between demonstrators and the police erupted in multiple cities across Europe, including Germany and Spain, and were particularly violent and widespread in Italy. Further restrictions for businesses and gatherings have been imposed in a new effort to contain the irrepressible pandemic, and people are reacting with a sense of desperate suffocation. The world is entering new challenges that will not be solved with financial or prophylactic measures, but will require adjustments within the realm of human relations.
Germany and France, two of the main European economies, announced new lockdowns for at least four weeks in response to the staggering, record high numbers of new coronavirus cases. As the virus spreads uncontrollably and the authorities fail to effectively deal with the crisis, where does it lead us? Since people see no solution on the horizon, we can expect the rioting to rapidly mushroom everywhere in the world, in every city, country, and continent. People will organize in every society according to their particular experience of the distress to express their anger, even in cultures which traditionally show more restraint such as the Scandinavian countries.
It is easy to understand what is spinning around in people’s minds. A person by nature is always looking ahead to anticipate his position in the future, what will happen to him and where life will lead. But within the predicament of this persistent and volatile plague, no one knows what to expect day to day. The present is full of uncertainty and suffering so the person is left with bitter apprehension about the future. By flocking to the streets it is possible to at least release tension and experience the comfort of a sense of solidarity with others, even though people may understand that it will not matter how loud they shout in the city squares or streets because no one is really listening.
In other words, deep inside, even if they are unaware of it, the main underlying theme of protestors is a hunger for togetherness. Demonstrators are ready to sit in jail for breaking the law, feeling that the sharing and common action are worth the consequences and pay off in the end. Common involvement adds a sense of significance and meaning to life. One can conclude from this that all the troubles, the diseases, are intertwined with a feeling of loneliness and a craving to rise above the distortions brought about by a culture of hundreds of years of ruthless competition, of thoughtless economic growth and development at the expense of warm connection between people.
The coronavirus is a force, albeit biological, which has caused great changes in us. The virus is helping us to understand that we live in an integral society and are longing for good connection with each other. The separation that was opening up between us—and also between us and the natural system—hit us hard. The coronavirus is certainly a direct product of our separation. Anger in the streets is just a symptom of our deep need for rapport. The remedy for all the suffering and pain of mankind is only connection.
The flip-flops about prospects for a long awaited vaccine do not help to calm humanity’s nerves. But even if one is discovered, the social problems will persist and prevail. Any financial bailout will always be felt as insufficient. Therefore, the only real solution is to cure our ailing human relationships which are the root cause of the world’s problems. Nature will keep influencing us in such a way that will oblige us to realize these truths and organize good connections between us, the only force that can neutralize any and every menace we may face.