March 28, 2020

by eric

I heard a couple sirens today–it felt unusual, though perhaps I am just over-sensitized.  It brought to mind one of my favorite pieces of writing, John Donne’s famous Meditation XVII:

Perchance, he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him… As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.

It seemed especially apt in that so much of the current crisis is about the need for empathy: to see ourselves in the place of another, to see how our actions affect others, and—even harder!—to be willing to make substantial sacrifices and never to know how or for whom they made a difference.

Sadly this is very countercultural these days in America.  The last weeks have shown that it’s hard even recognizing that what’s happening elsewhere is relevant to us.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.  –Douglas Adams

It’s becoming clearer that there may be stages of lockdown and release while we wait for a vaccine.  Twitter consensus is moving towards the need for widespread mask wearing to help blunt asymptomatic transmission (#masks4all).

It’s challenging to get flour.  I’m getting out of shape from not getting any real exercise for a month.