March 27, 2020-
In some of mankind’s darkest moments, advances have come from the suffering, like small mammals coming forth after the Age of Dinosaurs. These advances, in short order, became a part of the fabric of human culture.
After the Great Plague, of the Fourteenth Century, Europeans began to return to embracing science, rather than superstition, in treating illnesses. The primacy of Cardinals and Bishops began to face widespread scrutiny, and the stirrings of Protestantism were felt. The Catholic Church itself had to make changes, under Ignatius Loyola. Advances in scientific discovery came, as a result of these trends.
After the American Civil War, the Red Cross was started, by Clara Barton, as a means of assisting soldiers, in time of calamity. It quickly expanded to help society at large, in times of disaster.
After World War I, movements to assist disabled and unassisted veterans, in returning to civilian life began, with the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. These organizations still make large scale efforts to assist those who suffer from dislocation, or from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
After World War II, mass production of houses, the science of rocketry, television and large computers became part of the civilian world, having been first advanced within the military sphere. From large, room-sized computers have come hundreds of technological products, many of them falling into the realm of nanotechnology.
Now, we will await the advances coming out of the struggle against Coronavirus Disease 2019. Teleconferencing, already available for business, government and limited conversations between family members and other small groups, has exploded in use, as nearly every group, which conducted its business in person, has found ways to meet virtually. Even when the crisis has ended, I can see the sheer range of teleconferencing leading to its continued wide use among the public at large. It will also greatly modify the educational process, even more than it has to date.
The retrofitting of factories that produce a wide variety of products, from airplanes to distilled spirits, are now also producing items that will help face the virus. Ventilators, medical-grade masks and hand sanitizer will still need to be stockpiled, even after this virus has spent its rampage. Preparedness will not soon, if ever, be relegated to the realm of memory.
There will be many tasks, which the technology and skill sets coming out of the current crisis will need to be called to perform. Not the least of these is completing the still gargantuan effort to provide all homes with clean, running water and reliable heat or cooling. This work will occupy post-pandemic humanity for years, if not decades.
Out of the darkness comes a greater light. Baha’u’llah teaches:
“O SON OF MAN! My calamity is My providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy. Hasten thereunto that thou mayest become an eternal light and an immortal spirit. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it.”