Inspiration can be defined as an animating action or influence, that is to say, something that moves us or influences us to act or create, giving life to something new. Many people might think that the major influence operating today is the coronavirus, but the singularity we are passing through is actually something quite different.
A singularity is a point in time at which changes become uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseen changes to human civilization. We can see these changes all around us in daily life as everyone has to do everything differently than they have ever done before, Visiting with family by zoom; going to church in a parking lot in your car; putting on a mask and gloves to go grocery shopping; we can easily make a list. These particular changes by themselves will not last, but they are pushing us toward larger and long-lasting changes that we are only dimly beginning to see.
What may be the larger changes to our civilizations as we pass through this singularity? One is certainly an understanding of how connected the world has become and how interconnected it will be on the other side of this moment.
The planet is learning precious lessons about the need for united and timely action to deal with the future pandemics that scientists tell us will surely come as polar ice melts, and ancient viruses are released. We are learning how very much we depend on ordinary people who go to jobs every day that keep us fed and safe. We watch social classes and ethnic groups bear the brunt of the pandemic and understand that it is our own actions and inactions that have put them in harm’s way, leaving them without health care and food as they suffer the worst of the disease. Their harm will always become our own harm as our institutions and governments struggle not only to cope but even to maintain their legitimacy in the eyes of their people. We may then finally understand that caring for all of us protects each of us; the flourishing of the one is the flourishing of all.
The only way to deal with a singularity such as the one that is upon us is through the inspiration that comes to each of us as we consider how to make each day, each social system, each personal interaction safer and more just for each person on the planet.
–Dr. Jacqueline Osborne is a practitioner and celebrant of Baha’i principles. She believes in “One Human Family.”