What would you choose between going to the opening of a film festival with delicacies and glasses of wine or staying home watching a lecture by Yuval Harari? We would all go to the film festival, of course.
Pleasure and consumerism have always been more attractive than reflection, except for foolish philosophers. If we reflect and study, most of the time it will be against our will or thinking that with a PhD we will guarantee our consumption and our pleasures for life in a comfortable way.
The letters are learnt by blood. Or by coronavirus.
Teodoro Petkoff, writer and politician, always told us that nobody reads more than a prisoner. With half humanity incarcerated by the pandemic, it is not surprising that a significant percentage of human beings, beyond fear, are wondering what kind of world we are going see when the pandemic ends through a mixture of treatments and vaccines – in the rich and middle class countries- and herd immunity in miserable countries like mine.
It is exactly like in the movies, when, after the mother of all battles, the band of heroes, the band of brothers, go out to explore the devastated land, finding children and families who have survived among the rubble and underground, dodging bullets and bombs, collecting in abandoned stores, and even eating carrion.
What will be there when we go out?
It will be the same world, make no mistake about it. The same streets, the same sun, the same bus stop, the same neighbors, except those who are gone forever. It happens in the movies, it happens in real life.
Will we be the same?
Yes and no.
It will be the same body, with one more year on, with a few extra or less pounds, because there are differences between being locked up in Madrid or being locked up in Caracas. In Madrid you get fat, in Caracas you lose muscle mass.
That same body houses a psyche, a soul, which will probably be traumatized by the impact of confinement and fear.
I believe that almost everyone will try to return to their old habits and pleasures, although not all economies and countries in the world are going to be able to offer the same amount and variety of consumerism. For most, healing is about being able to regain their routines, their orderly world. As one of my teachers, Massimo Desiato, used to say, it is a human condition: to be for consumption, you are as long as you consume, you are what you consume.
Others have no choice but to invent a new world, a new normality, at once, because they live in destroyed countries like Venezuela, or because their jobs and businesses are no longer viable in traditional economies.
Personalities like my master, Rav Michael Laitman, think that there is a Copernican twist in the human soul from the pandemic. We are going to become aware, from fear, that infinite consumption is not possible in a world with finite resources, that ecological destruction really affects us, that we are interconnected as souls, as humans -Internet is a materialization of that- and that we depend on and are responsible for each other.
Surely, if I lived in Israel I would think like Laitman, influenced by the prophetic and messianic energy that emanates from the walls and stones of Jerusalem or from the tombs of the wise men of Safed.
But it turns out that from Caracas, which has been my choice until now, I have to think and glimpse, and above all build, that new world, for me, for my loved ones, for my country, and as part of the humanity that I am.
More than a panacea to save me, it is a gigantic responsibility and an opportunity that few times in a century is offered to a thinking human being.
So don’t be scared, keep thinking, that’s a good sign, and above all, start to act and keep acting, creating ventures – Venezuelans and Israelites are geniuses for that – taking care of our beloved ones and beyond, so that those we include within the “We” become more and more comprehensive.
The new world begins every day, and it is in our hands. It is a titanic fight, as in any epic film, but it is also a sunrise.