Everything affects the pandemic

by Bob Schwartz

The sense, rather than just thought, that emerges from ultimate experience, the thing that all traditions are trying to get at and get us to, is encapsulated in the clichéd phrase “everything is everything.”

If that sounds like the “Oh wow!” revelation of someone in the throes of a psychedelic drug or spiritual experience, so be it. Its truth stands.

In Buddhism, the idea of interdependence is central. The image of the net of Indra is the model. Jewels or mirrors at each knot of the net are not just connected. They reflect each other, infinitely. Reason tells you that some things have nothing to do with each other at all. The net tells you that of course the smallest thing there is reflected here, no matter how seemingly remote.

The theory of the butterfly effect is well known. It is posited that tiny events may have big effects, as the flutter of wings may result in catastrophic weather.

This is one step beyond “may.” Our choices, thoughts, words or actions are reflected everywhere else, even if our rational analysis can’t detail any connection.

If you think this is hippie New Age nonsense, consider the mainstream religious traditions, if you happen to be an adherent. You are asked to watch or are being watched for every one of those choices, thoughts, words or actions. Not, as the more authoritarian leaders have it, because you will be punished, but because we are not smart enough to know exactly what their effect will be. Our best approach is to be aware and take care, knowing that every bit of it will be reflected.

Which is a way round to the covid pandemic. Once the virus was here, everything affected what happened next. Not just choices about socializing, masks, vaccines, etc. Everything that individuals chose to do, say, read, watch, listen to.

Some will, as noted, reject this as nonsense. Your social media and entertainment choices have nothing to do with covid, you believe. Nor do the things you choose to buy or the people you choose to be with. Anyway, if everything is everything, and everything really is reflected in the pandemic, so what? What can you do about it?

What can you do about it anyway?

© 2021 Bob Schwartz