If ever there was an unmistakable demonstration of the interdependent nature of our world it is the coronavirus pandemic. Barring the rapid development of a vaccine the virus will run its global course. With worldwide cooperation we may be able to “flatten the curve”. This is of importance because it puts less pressure on our healthcare systems, making it possible to save more lives than could be done without protective measures. But it is important to understand that taking protective measures increases the duration of the pandemic significantly and, that while more lives can be saved, the number of people who will contract the virus will not likely be reduced by much.
This COVID-19 pandemic is a harsh wake-up call. This is not a localized problem. While slowing the spread of the virus requires us to isolate physically it also requires us to cooperate widely in the search for a vaccine and to coordinate our efforts and resources in order to mitigate the impact of the virus. International coordination is necessary. Dealing with the coronavirus will take the best efforts of us all. If we are to get through this with a minimum of suffering we are quite literally dependent on one another for support.
Interdependence is the nature of our reality. Dealing with pandemics, climate change, environmental degradation and other global issues requires us all to recognize this fact and to adopt ways of living that are in accordance with the implications of this reality. In order to make decisions and take actions that recognize our mutual interdependence it is essential to have a set of values that can be used as guidelines for making choices that are sustainable in our interconnected world. The Hopeful Mindset offers just such a set of values. These values differ in some important ways from the values of an independent mindset.
|Physiological||Access to Physical Requirements – food, water, air, warmth|
|Security||Resource accumulation (avoidance of scarcity) (wealth)|
|Membership||Tribal Membership – strength in numbers|
|Agency (Power to Act)||Control (power, manipulation)|
|Meaning||Personal Meaning – relative to self concerns|
|Purpose||Personal Success – relative to others – status|
Table 1 – Human Needs and Values based on an independent Cynical Mindset
The in-group isolationist position that often emerges from the values of the Cynical Mindset is the exact opposite of what we need in our interconnected world. What we need are ways to bring people together; not behaviours that separate and isolate us.
|Basic Physiological Needs (food, water, warmth)||Vitality|
|Membership Need||Inclusive Connection|
|Agency (Power to Act) Need||Personal Responsibility/Creativity/Respect|
|Meaning Need||Humility (recognizing interdependence)|
|Purpose Need||Personal Contribution|
Table 2 – Human Needs and Values based on an interdependent Hopeful Mindset
The Hopeful Mindset’s values encourage cooperation, tolerance, and compassion. They can serve as inspiration for coming together to meet the global challenges that we face today.
As difficult as it is to experience the COVID-19 virus may have a silver lining. If we heed its message regarding the interdependent nature of the world and the need to adopt appropriate values going forward, some good may come of it after all. There are some encouraging signs that this might be happening already. Individuals and businesses are making efforts to assist people with finances, transportation, food acquisition, and other hardships arising out of the health crisis. There does seem to be a general sense that we are all in this together. Whether this is just a temporary trend or one that continues after the pandemic has run its course remains to be seen but there is a chance that once people see the possibilities and advantages of acting from an interdependent mindset they just might want to carry on doing so. Throughout history humans have adapted to changing circumstances. Perhaps the coronavirus is exerting the kind of pressure that can move us to adopt the values necessary to survive in our increasingly interdependent world.
Take care or yourself and others. And wash your hands.