Less is more. No doubt about it. Life teaches us many lessons and we are at times its reluctant, at times its all the more avid and enthusiastic students. What we may have thought was more is now suddenly less. Only recently there was more hype, more action, more wealth and more consistent money-making, more showing off to the extent that others less fortunate than ourselves ended up being marginalised, relegated to the sidelines, to living in the shadows of those born into a life of wealth and luxury and who basked in the glory of their own status, possessions and achievements. Convinced that a constant running around in an endless rat race in search for some ultimately largely unattainable goal meant we achieved more, what COVID-19 – that heavy iron curtain suddenly pulled down in front of us – has taught us is to re-examine what it means to be alive in the world today. We can only speculate on what our lives and the world at large will look like in the pandemic aftermath, but we can speak with somewhat greater certainty about the near future and our stepping into a normality that only faintly resembles that which we used to know. What we can say more definitely is that we are headed for a New World Order, in all respects. Even if it is daunting to reflect on the most likely continued restrictions to our civil liberties, we need to look at this as an unexpected opportunity and learn to partly welcome the new reality of today –in East and West, North and South. Still subjected to a roller coaster of emotions we witness a world shaken to the core as an omnipresent, almighty virus – as if conjured up by Nostradamus with the aim of shocking us into action and a common adoption of a more novel approach to our glossy and highly artificial globalised futuristic modernity of today  ̶  dictates the rules and sets its own agenda, claiming lives from all sectors of society;  rich and poor, black and white, privileged and not, no one escapes unscathed. The very foundations of our universe not so stable anymore, what this new pandemic teaches us is the need for us to stop in our tracks and appreciate the small things that now gain utmost importance in our abnormal new normality.

A traveller reaches the edge of the known world and sticks his head through the firmament. By Anonymous – Camille Flammarion, L’Atmosphère: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888), pp. 163. Public Domain

Oh, to reflect and behold, to do nothing yet in doing so achieve a lot, to leave behind the hectic spinning around of this world and our everyday realities, to halt the rush, slow down our pace and calm our senses, to really see each other while at the same time we take a good look at ourselves ̶ forced to come to a better realisation of who we are and what our roles in this society really ought to be. In a world where Empathy, Solidarity and Compassion for our fellow citizens should guide us in our mutual interactions, we realise that resting on our laurels is simply not good enough (and no one really cares about those accolades anyway). It is the heart that matters, our ability to listen and forget about ourselves if only for a moment. If that moment extends into the norm and is conferred real value we shall have managed to interconnect at a whole different level, with whomever, whenever, and in whatever context ̶ interacting across the board. That is what being human (and humane) is all about; the ability to stand united, treating each other with care and real interest, and respecting each living being for the role they play in the greater ecosystem – that complex network where we all fulfil an important function while in the end, and as always, nature reigns superior. It is time we injected new life into Mother Nature, gave her a chance to breathe and be left untampered with. This will benefit us, too, as no man is an island and no man or woman can survive very long without a healthy relationship with their now healthier natural environment on their side. If we are to live more fully and love more fully, we need to step away from ourselves, extend our gratitude to others, and seize the day in a way more authentic manner than ever before.