What happens when our society starts living further and further apart? As our pandemic rages on with no end in sight, we have to make some decisions on the consequences of our actions. What are the repercussions as a society, when we inject a virus into the community that pushes us away from our natural instincts? Will we evolve ever so slightly into a better version of human beings? Or will we find it difficult to conform to this new way of life and make a change for the worst?
Early forms of human civilizations date back millions of years. Early societies were hunter-gatherers and lived day to day on the rations that they would find at that given time. There was no food storage, they ate what they found. As rations began to dissolve within their current area, they would then move along to another more prevalent area. Have you seen the great migrations in Africa? Elephants will travel close to 100km to find water and food during the dry season. Our ancestors were similar. They could span hundreds of miles to find the right place to maximize their opportunity for survival. As time went on and we learned to cultivate food, harness fire and continue to build more advanced tools, we started to change our lifestyle.
Early societies found that there was an importance to living in groups. First off, there was safety in numbers. Larger groups made it much more challenging for a predator or other tribes to infiltrate. Also, as our brains expanded far beyond that of the Neanderthals, our young needed more time to learn the ways of life. This played an importance in our social connections and how we communicated with each other. As we evolved, the more we learned from different people, the more advanced we became.
There are still a few groups around the world that still have a form of hunter-gatherer. One being the Hadza people currently living in Tanzania. Other than that, for the most part we have adapted to a new form of society. With our expansion of civilization and new forms of travel that has given us the ability to experience all walks of life in this world. The invention of agriculture, has given us the ability to take with us what we need to new areas of the globe and thrive as we adapt to the environment. What happens when everywhere we travel can lead to a disruption in our lives and the people around us?
Many places around the world, people live in tight societies where travel is not needed. People often will not even travel outside their comfort zones of cities or regions that they grew up in. In Europe and Asia, there are many of these cultures that stay within their villages as everything that they need is found within. In the US we have built a somewhat different scenario. We often have to travel at lengths to get our daily needs. Better jobs found in large cities, but the cost of living makes it hard to live within the vicinity of work. How does this need to change for the short term so that we can make it through our present situation? Is this why we are seeing the pandemic become less of an issue in other countries as opposed to the United States? Is there something that we may need to learn about staying close to home for all basic needs? Maybe not in the long term, but for this short period of time?
Pandemics have happened throughout history. They have destroyed civilizations and caused disruption of life. The Plague of Justinian, Black Plague, Smallpox and Cholera all had profound effects on the world. Some we were lucky enough to find vaccines for, others we were not so lucky and the main way we dealt with this was through quarantine. Either way they all left millions of deaths and a new found reality when they were gone. How will this pandemic affect our world? Sadly I think only time will tell, but I’m sure it will produce a change in our society. Will we conform and evolve differently with this one or will we adjust for a while and suffer only minor effects coming out of it?
What lies ahead is unique to us in our recent history. Yes there was a pandemic in the early 1900’s, but are we in the same situation that we were back then? It’s hard to compare the scenarios as we are a completely different society now vs back then. Regardless, as human beings we were affected mentally from the situation. Many of us have experienced deaths that we never thought we would have seen. Loved ones young and old are having issues with this recent virus and if history has shown, it could lead to mental issues long after it’s gone.
After the pandemic in 1918, people started to experience different forms of mental illness. Helplessness and anxiety were feelings that many people had long after the pandemic started to dissolve. Young children learning how to adapt to the possibility of living life without a parent or parents learning to cope with the loss of a child.
Zoom ahead to our recent pandemic. Now more than ever in our recent times, we are starting to see the challenges we face ahead. Schooling is a current challenge. Should kids go back to in person learning or should they stay at home and learn from a computer? What will be the affects of this on their social interactions with their peers? In our early years of school, we learn socialization. As we group together we find different social dynamics. What feeling did you have when you first started flirting with the opposite sex? How did you change your interactions to try and get that person as interested in you as you were of them? How did both of your social groups interact when this courtship was taking place? Did they allow it, or did they try to make it more challenging based on your social status? Will we still have the same type of situation when children are on zoom calls with one another and they don’t have the full ability to interact with each other as human beings?
Parenting now has a new set of paradigm shifts that have lead to a higher stress level. Who will be the parent that will stay at home with their children as they navigate the new landscape? Parents that live on two jobs currently, because that’s what is needed to create financial stability in their family unit. What if only one parent will have the ability to work, while the other now has to be the only source of income for their family? How does this change alter their families interactions and their ability to provide a successful life for their children?
We weren’t made for a pandemic. It’s not how we evolved as human beings. We evolved to be social. That’s why throughout history you have seen us have so many issues with pandemics. The Black Plague, measles, cholera and now COVID-19. We will get through it, but it’s not easy because we are going against evolution. If history shows us anything, that’s one thing that is very hard to go against! Will our new revolution of technology in the world help us adapt and get through a pandemic quicker than in the past or will it change our world as we used to know it? We won’t know the greater affect of this situation until many years after, but it’s something that we need to take into consideration as we move forward as a society.
As we move forward, as history has shown us, we get through pandemics. We have made it through with vaccines and different forms of quarantine. Will this quarantine work for a short period of time and hopefully get us back to a sense of normalcy in the coming years? At this moment we have to stay safe and continue to work through this ever-changing scenario that we are in, but we need to take mental health into strong consideration as it has the possibility to give dark consequences on our society. We might be living further and further apart at the moment, but now more than ever, we need to stay connected to one another, our future depends on it.