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Think Tank 2022


September 2022
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Corona Virus - A Crisis of Values, Interdependence and Mutual Prosperity – Opportunities for Renewal

The Corona Virus has shown us that we are vulnerable. Our health and our mighty and reliable economic system are fragile. It would be good for us to learn from this. We all feel insecure because this is affecting us personally. I cannot get the groceries I want. What will happen to my job and my savings? However, we do not think so much about how our fragile planet is travelling because it does not affect most of us personally. Let us hope that as a human race we can learn from this. We are dependent on our planet and dependent on each other.

There are at least three lessons to draw from the current Corona Virus crisis. First, we are facing a crisis of values. In time of crisis we see the good and the not so good of people’s values. Our sense of panic causes some of us to become hoarders who cannot see beyond our own immediate needs. Psychologists tell us that one third of the patients who come for their help with mental health problems do so for issues of lack of meaning and purpose in their lives. Essentially, a lack of values that can help them see a higher purpose than themselves. In time of struggle we need to find values and meaning that will sustains us.

Yet, this is also an opportunity to renew our values. In this crisis we also see the kindness of people. We hear of the wonderful things people are doing to help each other. I was standing at an Aldi’s checkout and a young woman and her partner started asking me how I was. She shared about her garden with a smile on her face. This made me happy. Sure, things will get tough, but we can get over it if we find the values to get us through this. Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to realise that there is more to life than groceries, our jobs and economics. Of course these are also important. Change is stressful and this is a good time to reflect on what is truly important in our lives.

The fact that we are socially isolated is a good thing. We have time to be with close ones and share deeply. When people lose their jobs they may feel irrelevant, but this is far from the truth. We are relevant because we can love. In the near future Artificial intelligence will produce great doctors, drivers, and analysts to make the world a better place. AI will replace human jobs. Will we become irrelevant? No, because we have our relationships. We will value love. At this time of crisis we are learning to love once more. I have heard it said that there are only two things - fear and love. On the side of love, I add hope and taking responsibility, since these are acts of love. We need to decide. Let us look after our family and our extended family members. My neighbours are also part of my extended family.

Second, this crisis has shown us how much we are interdependent on our little planet. The flow of people and goods is a real issue right now. This brings us to the realisation that we need each other across the globe. We need each other to be responsible and good citizens in our country. Let us not just hang on to our own cash, but let us keep our fellow man’s businesses going. I am a teacher; do you think parents can pay their children’s fees if their businesses are not going? This will affect my job and your job.

The third lesson is the realisation that we rely on each other for our mutual prosperity. Values, interdependence and mutual prosperity brings us to see that we are in this together and with this mindset – we can do better and we will get through this. Once we are aligned with the right values, we can concentrate on the day at hand. Fix what you can, make things better, and recognise each other’s needs. Our heightened knowledge of our fragility can separate us or it can bring us together. Let us do one kind thing each day for someone else.


By Dr. John Bellavance, Vice President, UPF-Australia

To see Dr. Bellavance's YouTube channel on Values Education, click here.