Will the world be more empathetic after coronavirus?

Diksha Dwivedi
·6-min read

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Part 8


7.51 pm

Mumbai, India

I didn’t do a journal entry yesterday, I could not. Something about the last day of the last month I guess, it wasn’t so pleasant to us. But today is a new day and I’m in no mood to make April fool’s jokes. So here I am writing something meaningful because that’s how my day began today.

‘Do you think this world will be a more empathetic place after this pandemic?’ is one of the first and the most important conversations I have had all month.

In a land full of humans worried about themselves, their groceries, their families, their friends, their prayers of the lockdown getting over these days, there was a guy messaging me about the world, its people, and the hope of a better tomorrow - whenever it happens.

This was today morning and it was not an April fool’s day joke.

Although let’s take a moment to digest the fact that Apple, the tech giant, was founded on the same day in 1976. I often go back to Steve Jobs’ quotes when I’m feeling low, my favorite one being his monologue on death.

‘Non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me,’ Steve Jobs said on his deathbed. There’s no other moment when a man is more honest in his life, other than the day he knows he’s dying. But, we never learn, do we?

Coming back to the question that made and changed the course of my day today. I went to school with this guy but we were never friends and many years later, we randomly stumbled upon each other on social media.

Honestly, he should be my friend (better late than never) because I feel him, I truly feel him. You’ll be amazed if I tell you what he does for a living. He makes really funny political videos for a living and oh my god he’s the best at his job.

I can’t take names (for obvious reasons) here but most probably, you’ve even seen his videos and laughed at them like there’s no tomorrow.

The one thing we have in common is - empathy. The most difficult and ignored emotion in this world.

When he messaged me today, it opened up a Pandora’s box of my emotions in front of him. After his one message, he received a trail of just very intense things I feel about this country, about this world and most importantly, about humans.

We both had the same question in our heads but a very different approach to it - why do all humans not feel the urge to change the world for the better? Why are all humans greedy and driven by money? Without your life, the economy and this planet, what good would be the monies in your bank accounts (till they exist) or pockets? Why don’t we all empathise with the needy, the victims, the lowest common denominators of the society?

Considering the times we are witnessing today and the times that have gone by, don’t we all feel the need to change the world and change the way things are going?

Not because we’re philanthropists, but because it’s the need of the hour - survival. Have we ever given the climate crisis a thought? It was a crucial problem we’d have faced in no time, had the coronavirus not happened this year.

But a majority of us chose to keep doing the things that make us happy as individuals and would’ve probably done that till the day we died, without realising those ‘wants’ in our lives may have been the reason behind many deaths, including that of our own and our loved ones’.

Same with our ignorance of the rules to prevent the coronavirus. The point was never to keep yourself safe from the virus if you’re young and healthy but to stop the chain of the virus before it reaches people who can die of it - your loved ones or not.

To answer the question - if this pandemic would make the world a better more empathetic place. I don’t think recent history has seen the world come together the way we’re seeing today, against covid19.

And no, the 2008 global economic crisis was far from what the world is going through today. Maybe, the last time a crisis changed the world as we knew it, was during World War II (1939-45).

Fifty years down the line, maybe just may be, the coronavirus will be remembered as that destructive virus that changed humans, and the world. It left the world and humans with a lesson or two about empathy, the environment, the survival and left us with the urge to change the world for the better. Maybe?

There’s no problem in this world that a little bit of empathy in your heart can’t solve.

For example, if the authorities in power could put themselves in the shoes of the minorities before passing bills related to them, protests and riots will never happen.

For example, if the landlords of the doctors of our country could put themselves in the shoes of these selfless health workers, they’d never kick them out of their houses and in fact many more of us would open our houses to those kind souls.

Without doctors, what would we even do with this virus? Have those ruthless people ill-treating health workers given this a thought? No. Why? Because of our lack of empathy.

Today, give this a moment. Let the sense of empathy overpower your survival instincts and you’ll see the world differently, I promise. You’ll suddenly do things for people you don’t know and will make a real impact in people’s lives sitting in the comfort of your homes.

In the past decades when s*** hit the ceiling with all kinds of crises, there was no social media. Today, we have it and you don’t know what all you can do today by using it productively, effectively and efficiently.

Do it today, try it. Start with sharing a video that made you angry as a bad example of how humans should NOT be behaving right now.

More tomorrow.


So, tell us, what is your #LifeWithCorona story in the Comments section

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