Blaise Pascal, the 15th century French writer, inventor and Catholic theologian, sums up the human condition during the coronavirus pandemic quite well.
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” he wrote.
The coronavirus has forced almost all of us, either in enforced or self-imposed quarantine, to sit alone quietly in our homes and watch the news of the continuing deaths, focusing our minds on Pascal’s dark human condition.
Another Pascal observation: “Imagine a number of men in chains, all under sentence of death, some of whom each day are butchered in the sight of others; those remaining see their own condition in that of their fellows, and looking at each other with grief and despair await their turn.”
Dark and gloomy musings, to be sure. But these uncertain times cause many of us to ponder our own mortality and look at each other with grief, fear and despair.
Some even venture to say we are in the beginning of the end times as foretold in the Bible. But I imagine people in Europe during the Black Death and in 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic no doubt thought the same thing. Yet humanity lived on.
We hear of friends dying, celebrities dying and the unknown dying.
I used to believe I was invincible, as many of us do in our youth. Then the years and the ailments start adding up.
I’m 65 years old, diabetic and had heart and back surgery. Watching the news, they tell me people my age are prime candidates to get sick from the virus.
For some strange reason, I’m not afraid. Sure — I wash my hands, wear a mask sometimes and social distance myself. I just figure when it’s my time to go, I’ll go. I’m not going to dwell on it. I still have a life to live, as we all do.
I’ll still drink my beer, read books, watch movies, play video games and get my garden ready, confident life will go on.
People will still die whether from the virus or other causes like they have before.
I’ll continue to watch virus updates and look for the other side of the tunnel. We will come out, hopefully stronger and more together as a world and a country, tethered by conquering misery together.