Reflexions on a Day of Confinement

20 March 2020

As a result of our being in confinement, family, friends and colleagues are more present than ever before in our daily lives. My colleague said the other day, “If somebody had told me earlier that I would be in confinement until further notice, I would had thought that this person had lost his mind.” Yet, here we are, victims of a nasty virus that has created huge collateral damage to people, not to mention the world economy. This like a science fiction film become reality.

“We are at war,” the French President said in a speech recently. And to some extent we are, but this time it’s against an almost invisible enemy, visible only under a microscope in a medical laboratory. The virus in itself is so virulent that we are all encouraged to stay at home, indoors, despite a lovely spring day with lots of sunshine and high temperatures. It may seem crazy, but this is the sad reality for many of us.

The stock markets are dropping, companies are facing huge difficulties, restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres are all closing until further notice. People are losing their jobs, or going on leave with or without pay. There is no fixed rule or regulation on this issue, so it’s rather up to each employer to do whatever he/she wants.

One can ask oneself: how is it possible that one simple virus can be so powerful, doing so much harm?

The questions are many and the answers are few, and one can only wonder if the whole truth one day will come out. Is it, as many tend to believe, only a virus from a market, or is it a virus that has escaped from a laboratory?

Some people have even proposed that this is a plan to make us all digital dependent, and therefore the virus was deliberately planted.

As we are in the middle of the pandemic, we can only wait and see. Once this pandemic is over, we can reflect upon the consequences, as my colleague said on the phone.

However, as a friend said, it’s an interesting time to watch and analyse what is going on. Fortunes shift hands, some face bankruptcy whereas others are doing fine. The immobility has led to a better quality of air, so that the air that we all breathing is less polluted than before, and many will perhaps take the time to reflect upon what we really need and want in this life.

For the Planet, this virus is a gift from Heaven, environmentalists say because, for the first time in a long time, you can see the fish in the Venice canals, and you can see Beijing from the sky instead of the smog. Wild life – indeed the whole biosphere – is at stake so, perhaps, we should use this pause to reflect upon a different way of life.

Human beings are incredible when it comes to survival strategies, and you can just see the new ways of doing business that are emerging, the solidarity that people show, despite of the confinement.

The well-known Swiss sociologist professor Jean Ziegler once said, it’s never all bad with a crisis, because it makes people think. Although he said this in a different setting many years back, his statement applies today.

However, as we are now living in a time close to George Orwell’s famous book 1984, and we are all communicating over the Internet, either by phone or simply sending texts, perhaps we can start reflecting upon what we really need and want.

People listen to music, do sports, read… So, while waiting for the war to be over, perhaps we can start by changing some of our habits, and see what is really important in our lives.