Look to the irony in any story and you’ll find the moral, the gospel, the very reason for that story existing in the first place. We’re all quarantined from one another, but maybe this is happening to remind us just how connected we all are. Maybe this interconnectedness is a really hard moral for us as humans to learn. We elected a president whose entire m.o. is to vilify “the other”. Fox News is built on this. It’s infuriating to learn about all the folks right now ignoring the calls for social distancing, but the harsh reality is that a lot more people are going to have to get sick and a lot more people are going to have to die before we start to learn the moral of this story. We are truly all connected, aren’t we? Even the president’s wall can’t save us.
MLK once said, “No one is free until we are all free.” That’s the same moral wrapped in different circumstances. And we still haven’t learned it. It’s a moral that can be found in myths, teachings and religions since the beginning of civilization. Corinthians 12 in the Bible is an example, the fable of Menenius Agrippa before that.
Please please practice social distancing right now. You’re killing people when you don’t. That might not feel real to you just yet, but it will soon. We are all connected, to one another and to every part of this more-than-human world around us. We all depend on one another to survive. It’s not me versus you, because we can’t do it without each other. Despite centuries of trying, it just never works. This is the moral. And it might take weeks, months, years, but we will learn it, one way or another.
*Illustration by Wenceslas Hollar, from John Ogilby’s version of the fable, “The Belly and the Members”, 1668 — an ancient variation of the moral of interconnectedness.