Life saver to some and symbol of tyranny to others—the requirement to wear a mask in public to prevent further contagion of Covid-19 has split societies around the globe. In America, the rebellious and visceral reactions of significant numbers of customers in shops and offices, where wearing a mask is mandatory, have even surprised mental health experts. People’s outrage has been expressed in the streets of the US and also in big cities such as Berlin and London where thousands protested the measure. But are we clear on what true freedom means? Clarity can only be grasped when we are considerate of one another.

Nature has a clear purpose: to bring all of humanity to unity. Thus, we will not be able to escape the plague until we realize that we are in one boat, all of humanity.

Michael Laitman

Despite vast scientific support for the efficacy of mask-wearing to prevent a wider spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the debate about their effectiveness refuses to die among those who defy face coverings and social distancing as preventative measures. But there is a deeper reason for their refusal: human nature. People are willing to risk the lives of others and their own to preserve what they consider their personal liberties. They ask themselves, “Why should an order from the government be imposed to restrict me? What is it that puts a bridle on my mouth like a horse? I am a free person!

Why the Anti-Mask Sentiment?

As someone who has studied human nature for more than forty years, I can understand them. They feel masks and the limitations that they symbolize are oppressive and demeaning. Some virus comes and suddenly they are obliged to wear masks, while governments look helpless to handle the situation. Of course they will shout in the streets. Countries that thought they had handled the Covid-19 crisis successfully find themselves falling again. The virus never ends; it simply does not go away and nothing seems to help.

People’s defiance against the mask requirement is evidence of our inability, failure, and even indifference to educating our societies correctly. People have not been educated about how to take care of themselves and be considerate of one another. There isn’t a government in the world that can set an example to anyone in this, and also not among those in charge of the health system—all follow their own specific and particular interests. We are witnessing a total collapse of the human system. There is basically nothing from among the existing societal structures that we can present to people as an example to be respected and listened to—everything is corrupt.

It is the virus itself which has taken our education into hand. Nature is law-bound to behave in every way to bring man into alignment with its system, to the knowledge of his “evil inclination.” Until man attains a higher consciousness, nature must show him that the destruction in his life stems from the destruction in his relationship with others.

Nature is like a loving parent giving his tender child a bitter medicine, while we behave like the child who is kicking and crying and refusing to swallow. Nature has a clear purpose: to bring all of humanity to unity. Thus, we will not be able to escape the plague until we realize that we are in one boat, all of humanity.

We influence and depend on one another. Therefore, each must act accordingly by developing the conviction and intention to avoid transmitting the virus and harming others. When we view our situation from this perspective, we will not view the mandatory measures like mask wearing as coercion but as a gesture of love and care for others, implemented with a blessing.

The world is circular and functions in that same fashion, as a unit. In the current state, that circle is being hit by crises from every direction. So, what to do? We must first realize that we are immersed in an interrelated system of connections. This means that every single action will affect the whole. Therefore, the only way to overcome the state of crisis is to think and behave as one, in mutual responsibility. That is our true freedom of choice.