Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Shared Experience

Remember when over two thirds of the nation would watch the same Television show on any particular evening? And we couldn’t wait to get back to school or to work, that water cooler, to hear and share our reactions to the drama with our fellow human beings.

We had a shared experience. An experience we longed to share. We celebrated our commonalities and marveled at how others differed in their experience of the same event, expanding our horizons in the process.

There were characters we loved and hated, and they were not always the same among everyone, but there was well thought out reasoning for it all.

Now, with on demand everything, and an experience in front of every screen, we create individual experiences virtually, no human interaction required.

Thus are the dangers of the modern world.

But we still have sports…

And what of the shared experience of motherhood, that deeply shared joy, the wonder of creating life? Pregnancy is no longer a life one is bringing into the world, but a mass of cells, a burden one is not encouraged to carry.

Where does our future lie?

What once defined womanhood is now despised.

To be manly, that shared experience to protect and provide, is considered criminal.

Prayer in school?

Government will allow none to compete, particularly God.

The shared experience is now not shared but scripted, dictated, allowed only if it conforms to the manufactured greater good.

Global warming; so starved for the shared experience, so deprived of the true values of life, so disconnected from the ability to discern, people, especially our young, cling to anything for relevance.

To believe the threat is real, to believe what one is told, is all that is required to be responsible, in the know, a good human being.

Life and death, work and family, the growing and preparation of our food, stewardship of the land were once universally shared human experiences.

Things happened, people died, young and old. We grieved, we mourned together and we sought for God.

The circle of life, the enduring of our tragedies made our victories all the more worthwhile; made humankind what we have become today, or had become.

Today’s tragedy, this virus, is a shared experience of worldwide proportion.

Yet we are not allowed to share the experience. We are not allowed to share sickness and health, life and death. We are told what to think and how to act and if we do not think and act appropriately, then we are a danger.

If only we were like Red China.

We are just beginning to understand the threat, yet so many are eager to proclaim their personal enlightened understanding, no matter how flawed. Most all judge this fluid situation, this virus, from a static perspective, helpful to none. But as long as we get our fifteen minutes.

I saw a comparison of the Spanish flu numbers with the COVID-19 numbers on Facebook; a network we place too much value in. But the Spanish flu numbers came from a two year course, and it most likely started long before it was recognized as a new contagion. We are just beginning with COVID-19.

This is how we form arguments these days? This is how we convey the dangers or lack thereof?

Are we all too disconnected to recognize the disconnect?

COVID-19 is in no way a threat to the existence of humanity, but the death rate is high, tragically high. Fortunately the young appear to be spared, a fact which in an earlier age would have been rejoiced over.

When we are allowed to share this experience, we will all come out stronger by living through it; life portends death.

We value our own lives too little if we are willing to be dictated to without question. We value the lives of others far too little if we do not bestow our trust upon them as fellow human beings and act responsibly in return.

Personal behaviors naturally change in the face of crisis, but faith in our creator and our fellow man should never change.

The Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Liberty; it is the ultimate shared experience in human history. An experience that many of the powers to be wish us never to share again.