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Covid 19- Corona Crisis - HCB Column May 2020

On LinkedIn and Twitter I have been following an avalanche of posts and replies to posts about how, if and when life will return to normal and business turns back to usual. Proponents of the draconian measures taken by our governments to halt the Coronavirus outbreak against opponents who claim that too much damage has already been done to the global economy, complain online. Let me first mourn those people whose lives the virus sped up to end perhaps sooner than expected. As a survivor of an aphylactic shock I know what it feels like when you can’t breathe any more: true agony and fear.

Life however is unpredictable. One does not know when one is going to die, unless you choose to end it yourself. Fact is that every year more people die of suicide than of Coronavirus complications, and now, when I am writing this as an opponent against disproportionate lockdowns of entire countries with no regard to direct and indirect dire consequences, it is very irresponsible. Of course, I understand that political leaders are facing a dilemma, but enforcing homestay and social distancing by police and the military reeks of totalitarianism, which in the West should stir some resistance.

But, outside of social media, very few have the courage to actually follow Henry David Thoreau’s call for civil disobedience. No, we are quite comfortable. Many will be receiving at least a part of their salary and civil servants and politicians only will lose their generous travel expenses. I am thinking about day labourers in India of Africa, to whom such measures mean the difference between life and death, choosing whether to feed the kids today or tomorrow? At least in New Delhi people can see the Himalayan Mountains again because the smog disappeared. In Venice the water is now as clear as in Roman times. People have time to actually read a book again.

But is business as we knew it coming back to haunt us and push us further towards climate catastrophe or should we see the Coronavirus as a hand which nature is offering us to stop the ransacking of our planet for monetary gain? As a systems thinker and a cybernetician, I believe this is the dramatic event that Dr Fritjof Capra spoke about as a chance to rethink life and start phasing out detrimental policies of unsustainable growth. Voices can be heard from left, right and centre, shouting that if we go back to business as usual the chances of worse pandemics and the inevitable destruction of all life, including ours, can’t be postponed much longer.

It is as if people are waking up, seeing things better through clear skies and that cooperation, conversation and the exchange of information is the only way to survive. And you know what? Our common sense already understands this. We don’t have to research anything. Our innate programming already tells us what to do. Just listen to that inner voice.


This is the latest in a series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at www.tankterminaltraining.com. Those interested in responding personally can contact him directly at arendvc@tankterminaltraining.com.

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