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ray of lightUncertainty, mortality, suffering, change—the coronavirus has dropped all of them on our doorstep. When we face circumstances like this, activities we’ve always taken for granted suddenly become salient in their mattering and urgency, and we confront questions about what we really value.

These intruders are unwanted guests to be sure and they may well trash the place before they leave.

But sometimes the provocation is just what we need.

Throughout human history we have never changed without a crisis. It’s just not in our nature to evolve in rational, measured sequences. Only when forced to, will we discard old paradigms and cast about for new ones.

We have not done ourselves proud over the last four years. The civilization that emerged from the provocations of world war and showed such promise at the close of the 20th Century has been teetering on the brink of a dark, turbulent chasm. This virus will surely push us over.

But in the process of re-inventing ourselves there is an opportunity to change our behavior and way of life to give our planet a chance to heal. When the doctors and scientists have done their work it will be time for the rest of us to step up.

No one would confuse me with an optimist. (I disliked Pollyanna as a kid). But suffering and uncertainty have a way of focusing our attention.

When robbed of inertia, motion is the only option.