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Pan Chasinga
Pan Chasinga

Posted on • Originally published at Medium

The Day the Earth Stood (6 Feet) Apart

The satellite images from NASA had shown that pollution in China has gone down since the coronavirus outbreak.

There were also photos from people of Venice reporting that the cloudy Venice canals have turned crystal clear after coronavirus the tourism halt.

Apparently, the outbreak is affecting millions of lives and businesses, taking many lives with it, but most of the damages have been economical.

On the upside, more people are experiencing an awakening. They cherish more physical, genuine connections (albeit through video calls) rather than those in online social media in the face of social distancing. They are learning new skills such as baking, sewing, and 3D-printing in the face of scarcity, making them more active producers than they had ever been. It is hopeful to see that our society might be heading toward a more well-balanced, sustainable one that is relying less on industrialization and mass-consumption that has been contributing to the global warming crisis for almost three centuries. We are looking at technologies in a new light and are moving past the app economy to a more integrated symbiosis.

Think about how we were going to go forward with all the mess we were in before the lockdown. The tech scandals after another (Theranos, Uber, WeWork), the Facebook scandal that had indirectly influenced the US primary election, the alarming speed at how our world is warming up, and much more. The re-enacted sentimental of space-traveling and humans as interstellar species, if anything, is the answer to this question — we were hopeless of the future that the only way to see forward is up.

This pandemic reminds me of the classic film The Day the Earth Stood Still (both the superb original and the more boring 2008 remake), in which an alien race visited the human race and basically wiped out all technological advancement in the end, effectively rewinding human race to the stone age, hence the movie title. Of course, that is fictional and over the edge, but we could consider viruses as being "alien" and co-existing with living organisms, stepping in to intervene and curb a population from over-running the habitat. COVID-19 crisis may not entirely annihilate all advancements, but it sure has slowed us down like no governments, regulations, and goodwill could.

…it might be the natural guard to ensure a species could never go too far as to mess up the universal balance.

In the economic world, a term used to describe this pandemic is Black Swan. It sounds silly that the term should be described and popularized in the economical sense when in fact it extends far beyond. Maybe a Black Swan is the equivalence of the lightning God struck on the Tower of Babel, the first human’s attempt at deism. Maybe whenever a species get too high, a form of Black Swan will naturally occur and intervene. It can be a war, an epidemic, or something else beyond contemplating (that’s basically a definition of a Black Swan), but it might be the natural guard to ensure a species could never go too far as to totally mess up the universal balance.

So I urge you all to look at this crisis in a new light. It might be a good time to contemplate, reestablish lost connections, strengthen ties with families and friends, learn new programming skills, start a new data science career, or just connect with your own self. Who knows what our world might look like on the other side. One thing is certain - it will stand more still than before.

Originally posted on Medium, edited for appropriateness.

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