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Opinion | Corona Lockdown: Signs Of Endgame Were There, For Those Who Knew How To Read Them

When humans suffer from inertia, nature sorts us out quickly and ruthlessly, without too much concern for who is who, writes Peggy Mohan

Opinion | Corona Lockdown: Signs Of Endgame Were There, For Those Who Knew How To Read Them
Photo by Apoorva Salkade/Outlook
Opinion | Corona Lockdown: Signs Of Endgame Were There, For Those Who Knew How To Read Them
outlookindia.com
2020-04-03T17:45:09+05:30

It is a mild spring day, unseasonably rainy, and time is standing still. The ceiling fans are timidly waking up from winter. And we ourselves are housebound, craning our ears for the sound of the other shoe if and when it drops. I have been imagining this scenario for ages, this time-outside-of-time, with all of us hunkered down at home “for our own good”, the great turnaround moment when our species, racing faster and faster towards a stop light, suddenly jams on the brakes. The day we call a halt to the madness, and give the planet a break.

The signs of endgame were there, for those who knew how to read them, with teenage activists cropping up all over the world to show us, if we were too blinkered or unconcerned to believe the climate scientists. We had ample warning that we had to slow down and switch to a new way of living that did not destroy the planet while it made a few unspeakably rich. But we were on a roll, in a deadly game of ‘chicken’, aiming our headlights straight at the oncoming car and flooring the accelerator. The other guy would give up first, we thought, and we would win.

The only thing that could bring the needed flip was a microbe, something that brought a dreaded disease in the blink of an eye. Because, left to ourselves, humans suffer from inertia, which stops us from getting up and doing what plainly needs to be done. And when we wait too long, Nature comes out to bat during overtime, and she sorts us out quickly and ruthlessly, without too much concern for who is who, though it is usually the poor who get the raw end of the deal. But who knew, this time around? All of a sudden the big-time consumers, the frequent flyers, were the ones in the crosshairs. This new virus had started in the industrial hub of the global system, and spread out first to the places in daily contact with Wuhan. David Quammen,...

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