There’s a line at the end of Viktor E. Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ which states: “The Crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that, after all, he has suffered, there is nothing he need fear any more- except his God.”
I was reading this book which is a tribute to the hope of humanity’s prism, Holocaust. I hadn’t read it to find meaning for today’s times but simply because it was gifted to me long back but had never got the chance to complete reading it. It’s a book about survival, the author talks about his experience in Nazi concentration and extermination camps. He talks about the prisoners who gave up on life and about their deaths being more from losing hope than lack of food or medicine. It is a book to remember for generations simply because of its first-hand experience in the darkest periods of human history and proving Nietzsche’s quote of ‘He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.’ More than 80 years later things haven’t been easy.
The whole world has been going through tough times. From world power the US to third world nations like ourselves it’s very chaotic. Not just in the outer levels but the inner, psychological level as well. Some chaos is visible as people dying of hunger, lack of health facilities, good shelter, economic losses, but some, and most are psychological which cannot be seen. Only the end result such as suicide rate crossing 1000 nationally is visible as people have been restless, sad, fearful, anxious, and worried for themselves and their families.
There is a high number of domestic violence and rapes happening. For Nepal’s migrant and daily wage workers lockdown has been more dangerous than the virus itself. The nation that aimed for a very high GDP may have the lowest in a long time with the tourism year being dropped in only 2 months of its execution. As per the analysis by the Asian Development Bank, the outbreak will be shaving up to 0.13 percent off the gross domestic product and rendering up to 15,880 people jobless. Living in these gloomy times, it’s difficult to envision how things will pan out post-pandemic.
There are primarily two possibilities. One where we all will keep acting the way we had i.e. being selfish, thinking about our own wellbeing more than the nation or globes, forgetting the past months, and repeating the same cycle. We might never give the planet a chance to rest and heal as we accidentally did and it’s such a shame that the best thing we did for the planet was not even by choice.
Apart from the difficulty in coping with the aftereffect of COVID-19 economically, socially we will have to get used to avoiding if not have precautions before entering large groups, parties, festivals, shopping malls, cinema halls, and sporting events. Due to poor infrastructures and crowded classes, Nepali schools and colleges will find it hard to reopen anytime soon, lack of testing facility in many places won’t help many sectors. And with the vaccination still not available we need to be extra aware of our health if not for ourselves then for the people close to us. Because that’s one thing we learned in lockdown which is to not just think for ourselves but for others, too.
The optimistic possibility is that as we got a chance to reevaluate ourselves as a species and come together collectively in finding solutions to help each other, as we got a chance to spend time with ourselves more I like to believe life after, will be with lessons learned, nature will be loved more, the well being of the planet will be thought before making any big socio-economic decisions, especially by powerful nations.
We will use video chats to communicate and have meetings saving time and money. We have known the value of what we are doing more, so the work will be more efficiently done. We have realized the importance of being with our close ones, post-pandemic too we will find time for our family resulting in better relations, we will be connected with our society; we will time and again take some breather, rekindle ourselves and enjoy the journey.
As for every good paragraph, there needs to be full stops and commas, life gave us this full stop so that we make the next sentence more meaningful. Despite these wonderful possibilities, the pessimist side may ask will we first see the light at the end of the tunnel? Will we move forward? If so how will we? Very much like the Holocaust to answer the How we need to find the Why.