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COVID On a positive note...

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Reality is frequently inaccurate
While slightly under the weather myself, and stuck at home because of it, I am following the Corona news and progress reports eagerly. Because frankly, there's no escaping it and I have a lot of time on my hands.
Yesterday I stumbled upon a column written by Rutger Bregman (translated from Dutch by Joy Phillips) in the Dutch chapter of The Correspondent. I liked it, and wanted to share it with you. I copied the full text below, just in case the link doesn't work.



Disasters and crises bring out the best in us. This simple fact is confirmed by more solid evidence than almost any other scientific insight, but we often forget. Now more than ever, in the middle of a pandemic, it is crucial to remember this.

Sure, our news feeds are flooded with cynical stories and comments. A report on armed men stealing rolls of toilet paper in Hong Kong, or a passing comment about the Australian women who got into a fistfight in a Sydney supermarket. In moments like these, it’s tempting to conclude that most people are selfish and egotistical.

But nothing could be further from the truth. For every antisocial jerk out there, there are thousands of doctors, cleaners and nurses working around the clock on our behalf. For every panicky hoarder shoving entire supermarket shelves into their cart, there are 10,000 people doing their best to prevent the virus from spreading further. In actual fact, we’re now seeing reports from China and Italy about how the crisis is bringing people closer together.

“We’ve learned how to accept help from others,” writes a woman living in Wuhan. “Because of this quarantine, we have bonded with and supported each other in ways that I’ve never experienced in nine years of living here.” Millions of Chinese people are encouraging each other to stand strong, using the Cantonese expression “jiayou” (don’t give up). YouTube videos show people in Wuhan singing from the windows of their homes, joined by numerous neighbours nearby, their voices rising in chorus and echoing amongst the soaring towers of Chinese cities. In Siena and Naples, both on complete lockdown, people are singing together from the balconies of their homes.

Children in Italy are writing “andrà tutto bene” (everything will be all right) on streets and walls, while countless neighbours are helping each other. On Thursday, an Italian journalist told the Guardian about what he had witnessed with his own eyes: “After a moment of panic in the population, there is now a new solidarity. In my community the drugstores bring groceries to people’s homes, and there is a group of volunteers that visit houses of people over 65.” A tour guide from Venice notes: “It’s human to be scared, but I don’t see panicking, nor acts of selfishness.”

The words “andrà tutto bene” – everything will be all right – were first used by a few mothers from the province of Puglia, who posted the slogan on Facebook. From there, it spread across the country, going viral almost as fast as the pandemic. The coronavirus isn’t the only contagion – kindness, hope and charity are spreading too.

The surge in solidarity that we’re seeing will come as no surprise to most sociologists. The current situation has obvious similarities to the human response to natural disasters, which has been researched extensively for decades.

News reports following a natural disaster are almost always dominated by stories of looting and violence, but in many cases such stories turn out to be unfounded speculations based on rumour. Since 1963, the University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center has conducted nearly 700 field studies on floods and earthquakes, and on-site research reveals the same results every time: the vast majority of people stay calm and help each other. “Whatever the extent of the looting,” one sociologist notes, “it always pales in significance to the widespread altruism that leads to free and massive giving and sharing of goods and services.”’

Yes, panic can happen, and some people may start hoarding. But a British social psychologist notes that “we’re much more likely to see prosocial behaviours across multiple types of disasters and extreme events”. That truth echoes back across the ages. According to an eyewitness account, when the Titanic went down, there was “no indication of panic or hysteria; no cries of fear, and no running to and fro”. When the Twin Towers burned on 11 September 2001, thousands of people patiently trudged down all those flights of stairs.

“And people would actually [say]: ‘No, no, you first’,” one of the survivors reminisced later. “I couldn’t believe it, that at this point people would actually say, ‘No, no, please take my place.’ It was uncanny.’”

Believing these eyewitness accounts can be difficult, but that’s due mostly because of the cynical portrayal of human nature that’s taken centre stage in recent decades. For years and years, the worst aspects of humanity have dominated the discourse. “The point is, ladies and gentleman,” said Gordon Gekko, the main character in the 1987 film Wall Street, “that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. [...] Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”

Year after year, politicians have drafted huge piles of legislation on the assumption that most people are not good. And we know the consequences of that policy: inequality, loneliness and mistrust.

Despite all that, something extraordinary has happened in the last 20 years. Scientists all over the world, working in many different fields, have adopted a more hopeful view of human nature. “Too many economists and politicians model society on the constant struggle that they believe reigns supreme in nature, but that belief is based solely on projection,” writes prominent Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal. “Our assumptions about human nature are in dire need of a complete overhaul.”

Nothing is certain, but this crisis may well help us in that process. We may see a dawning awareness of dependence, community and solidarity. “I don’t know what you’re seeing,” a Dutch psychiatrist and mother tweeted, “but I’m seeing people wanting to help all over the place. By following official recommendations, or something practical like doing someone’s grocery shopping … ”

My German book editor told me about a note that had been posted in an apartment building: “Dear neighbours. If you’re over 65 and your immune system is weak, I’d like to help you. Since I’m not in the risk group, I can help you in the coming weeks by doing chores or running errands. If you need help, leave a message by the door with your phone number. Together, we can make it through anything. You’re not alone!”

As a species of animal that evolved by making connections and working together, it feels strange to suppress our desire for contact. People enjoy touching each other, and find joy in seeing each other in person – but now we have to keep our physical distance.

Still, I believe we can grow closer in the end, finding each other in this crisis. As Giuseppe Conte, the Italian prime minister, said this week: “Let’s distance ourselves from each other today so that we can embrace each other more warmly tomorrow.”
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
Thanks for the salutary reminder, @Purky, which calls to mind the oft-quoted advice of the Quaker George Fox to ‘walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone’. For God, we may read good.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
While slightly under the weather myself, and stuck at home because of it, I am following the Corona news and progress reports eagerly. Because frankly, there's no escaping it and I have a lot of time on my hands.
Yesterday I stumbled upon a column written by Rutger Bregman (translated from Dutch by Joy Phillips) in the Dutch chapter of The Correspondent. I liked it, and wanted to share it with you. I copied the full text below, just in case the link doesn't work.



Disasters and crises bring out the best in us. This simple fact is confirmed by more solid evidence than almost any other scientific insight, but we often forget. Now more than ever, in the middle of a pandemic, it is crucial to remember this.

Sure, our news feeds are flooded with cynical stories and comments. A report on armed men stealing rolls of toilet paper in Hong Kong, or a passing comment about the Australian women who got into a fistfight in a Sydney supermarket. In moments like these, it’s tempting to conclude that most people are selfish and egotistical.

But nothing could be further from the truth. For every antisocial jerk out there, there are thousands of doctors, cleaners and nurses working around the clock on our behalf. For every panicky hoarder shoving entire supermarket shelves into their cart, there are 10,000 people doing their best to prevent the virus from spreading further. In actual fact, we’re now seeing reports from China and Italy about how the crisis is bringing people closer together.

“We’ve learned how to accept help from others,” writes a woman living in Wuhan. “Because of this quarantine, we have bonded with and supported each other in ways that I’ve never experienced in nine years of living here.” Millions of Chinese people are encouraging each other to stand strong, using the Cantonese expression “jiayou” (don’t give up). YouTube videos show people in Wuhan singing from the windows of their homes, joined by numerous neighbours nearby, their voices rising in chorus and echoing amongst the soaring towers of Chinese cities. In Siena and Naples, both on complete lockdown, people are singing together from the balconies of their homes.

Children in Italy are writing “andrà tutto bene” (everything will be all right) on streets and walls, while countless neighbours are helping each other. On Thursday, an Italian journalist told the Guardian about what he had witnessed with his own eyes: “After a moment of panic in the population, there is now a new solidarity. In my community the drugstores bring groceries to people’s homes, and there is a group of volunteers that visit houses of people over 65.” A tour guide from Venice notes: “It’s human to be scared, but I don’t see panicking, nor acts of selfishness.”

The words “andrà tutto bene” – everything will be all right – were first used by a few mothers from the province of Puglia, who posted the slogan on Facebook. From there, it spread across the country, going viral almost as fast as the pandemic. The coronavirus isn’t the only contagion – kindness, hope and charity are spreading too.

The surge in solidarity that we’re seeing will come as no surprise to most sociologists. The current situation has obvious similarities to the human response to natural disasters, which has been researched extensively for decades.

News reports following a natural disaster are almost always dominated by stories of looting and violence, but in many cases such stories turn out to be unfounded speculations based on rumour. Since 1963, the University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center has conducted nearly 700 field studies on floods and earthquakes, and on-site research reveals the same results every time: the vast majority of people stay calm and help each other. “Whatever the extent of the looting,” one sociologist notes, “it always pales in significance to the widespread altruism that leads to free and massive giving and sharing of goods and services.”’

Yes, panic can happen, and some people may start hoarding. But a British social psychologist notes that “we’re much more likely to see prosocial behaviours across multiple types of disasters and extreme events”. That truth echoes back across the ages. According to an eyewitness account, when the Titanic went down, there was “no indication of panic or hysteria; no cries of fear, and no running to and fro”. When the Twin Towers burned on 11 September 2001, thousands of people patiently trudged down all those flights of stairs.

“And people would actually [say]: ‘No, no, you first’,” one of the survivors reminisced later. “I couldn’t believe it, that at this point people would actually say, ‘No, no, please take my place.’ It was uncanny.’”

Believing these eyewitness accounts can be difficult, but that’s due mostly because of the cynical portrayal of human nature that’s taken centre stage in recent decades. For years and years, the worst aspects of humanity have dominated the discourse. “The point is, ladies and gentleman,” said Gordon Gekko, the main character in the 1987 film Wall Street, “that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. [...] Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”

Year after year, politicians have drafted huge piles of legislation on the assumption that most people are not good. And we know the consequences of that policy: inequality, loneliness and mistrust.

Despite all that, something extraordinary has happened in the last 20 years. Scientists all over the world, working in many different fields, have adopted a more hopeful view of human nature. “Too many economists and politicians model society on the constant struggle that they believe reigns supreme in nature, but that belief is based solely on projection,” writes prominent Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal. “Our assumptions about human nature are in dire need of a complete overhaul.”

Nothing is certain, but this crisis may well help us in that process. We may see a dawning awareness of dependence, community and solidarity. “I don’t know what you’re seeing,” a Dutch psychiatrist and mother tweeted, “but I’m seeing people wanting to help all over the place. By following official recommendations, or something practical like doing someone’s grocery shopping … ”

My German book editor told me about a note that had been posted in an apartment building: “Dear neighbours. If you’re over 65 and your immune system is weak, I’d like to help you. Since I’m not in the risk group, I can help you in the coming weeks by doing chores or running errands. If you need help, leave a message by the door with your phone number. Together, we can make it through anything. You’re not alone!”

As a species of animal that evolved by making connections and working together, it feels strange to suppress our desire for contact. People enjoy touching each other, and find joy in seeing each other in person – but now we have to keep our physical distance.

Still, I believe we can grow closer in the end, finding each other in this crisis. As Giuseppe Conte, the Italian prime minister, said this week: “Let’s distance ourselves from each other today so that we can embrace each other more warmly tomorrow.”
Purky, please get well soon. Thanks for this post. So many parts of it resonate. Let me tell you: on Saturday, a niece of my community companion texted to assure us of her concern and to ask us to let her know if we need anything. This morning, I met a lovely young neighbour, and usually we meet on Tuesdays at the bus stop. She stopped me to offer whatever help I might need, telling me to put a note in through her letter box if there is anything at all I need. And just a few minutes ago, the daughter of a friend sent a WhatsApp with this message: Have you got your groceries and everything sorted? Let me know. If we can be of any help, or if you'd like to have a chat on the phone, I'd love to hear your voice. Ewa.
What more can I add? Generosity, young people, hope, future!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I don't really want to post this is the lament thread, but can't find a better option. If this is not ok, please move it, one of the moderators. it is a new take on a beautiful old version. Best way is to type in Attenborough Wonderful World. it reminds me of Baraka, a wonderful film from long years ago.
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
The side benefit is our environment is cleaner every day with less driving and flying. Who would of thought this was our path to a greener future? I have to say not having climate change as the news lead each day is a nice change.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Reality is frequently inaccurate
While this is a time where people are (legitimately) freaking out, I'm also seeing chances for a lot of us when the initial panic has worn off.
A rise in solidarity, time for reflection, maybe even a reduction of burn-outs because of the quarantine measures. Not to mention a new appreciation for healthcare personnel.
Maybe my optimism seems contrived, but I've seen and lived through enough depression to know the devastating effects. It's not always easy, but I continue to choose a half full glass. Especially in times like these.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I think that the above posts are accurate on a person to person level, perhaps less so on a person to government level. While informing myself through CBC of a massive commitment of Canadian government resources to respond to COVID 19, I accidentally came upon a few individual responses to the text of the government's announcement. Every one was extremely negative and hostile. I wouldn't be a member of the government in power at this time for anything (unless I felt called to martyrdom). Many of the people responding had actually got the facts wrong. They just wanted to express their rage, and presumably their sense of vulnerability, in any available public medium. Maybe they needed this, but I find it very sad.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
I wouldn't be a member of the government in power at this time for anything
I dont think I would want to be a member of the government at any given time
No matter what you do - you will always 'get it wrong' for someone.
sic semper opinions (finish the phrase if you know it ;) )
On a positive note, of course ! :p
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I dont think I would want to be a member of the government at any given time
No matter what you do - you will always 'get it wrong' for someone.
sic semper opinions (finish the phrase if you know it ;) )
On a positive note, of course ! :p
The phrase as I know it is "Sic semper tyrranis," attributed to Marcus Iunius Brutus, an assassin of Julius Caesar and apparently shouted by John Wilkes Booth, after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. I assume that you are suggesting that people in all ages are not so fond of their heads of state.
But as individuals I have seen their care of their neighbours in time of crisis, as I lived through the events and aftermath of the Calgary flood and have also had some shopping done for me by my neighbour yesterday, as I am in voluntary seclusion.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
@Albertagirl
Well... I sort of was a little paraphrasing
Sic Semper Tyrranis - thus always (be to) tyrants - which is correct in the context you are saying
mine plays on it (thus always be the opinions)...and there is another phrase about the opinions... that I did not feel like posting :rolleyes:... but lots of folks know how it goes
simply continuing what I said that no matter what one does - someone wont like it

I do agree that there are plenty of folks who rise to the occasion on individual level. My wife and I do a good clip of various volunteer work (although one can argue that "it is never enough") and get to meet wonderful people.

may we always be inspired by the good deeds and good will of others!

On écrit sur les murs le nom de ceux qu'on aime
Des messages pour les jours à venir
On écrit sur les murs à l 'encre de nos veines
On dessine tout ce que l'on voudrait dire
On écrit sur les murs la force de nos rêves
Nos espoirs en forme de graffiti
On écrit sur les murs pour que l'amour se lève
Un beau jour sur le monde endormi
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
I’ve found myself thinking about the silver linings to this ...

Thinking about the clarity of the water in the Venetian canals and about the air quality in Chinese and north Italian cities, could this be seen as ‘Gaia‘ rebalancing herself .... ?

Just a thought ....

Edit:
Oops, sorry, I’m guilty of not having read some of the above posts .... 🤭
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Get well soon, Purky...and thank you for this lovely thread!

Here is something I saw in the Guardian this afternoon...

More music, being shared into the clearing air....
Another beautiful evening song. Many many versions. Here are lyrics, a trifle out of sync with modern language or spirituality, but nonetheles strikes a memory chord in those who have known it since infancy...
Salve Regina
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.Turn then, most gracious .Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.And after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.Pray for us O Holy Mother of God,That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.Amen.





Edit: if these words transgress rules, no problem if they have to be removed.
 
Last edited:

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