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The Wooden Nickel:  Be A Person

The Wooden Nickel: Be A Person

August 02, 2021
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What’s the goal of a life? 

I’m not trying to get into any religious or philosophical debate. I’m not questioning existence. I’m just wondering out loud what all of us may have thought at one time or another: what are we doing here? I’m not just focused on human life, but life everywhere, in all its forms. Humans, animals, plants, amoeba, bacteria…all of it.

What’s life trying to do?

I was thinking about this in the context of viruses, specifically the one that we’ve been dealing with for a year-and-a-half. I don’t know much about virology, but one thing is clear to me about the Covid-19 virus; it wants to live. More to the point: it wants to continue its own existence, and will do whatever it takes to keep on going, if not for itself, then for its offspring.

Covid wants to find a nice place to live, like inside human lungs. It wants to thrive here on earth as much as it can. It needs sources of energy, and it will try to protect itself if attacked. If the attacks continue, it changes itself to adapt to the new reality. It doesn’t care that it ruins its home by killing the host. The most adaptable Covid viruses will use what they need from their homes and procreate, and then that progeny will move to new homes. It will adapt. It will continue to use resources, sometimes unwisely, until the resources are exhausted and then try to move on to do it again and again somewhere else.

Sound familiar?

Are we so different?

Don’t humans want to live in nice places? Don’t we consume the things around us to make sure we thrive? Don’t we procreate? We once numbered in the thousands; now we are in the billions. We are changing our host planet in ways that sometimes profoundly injure it. We keep taking and taking and taking because we must satisfy this need to grow ourselves and our “people.” When attacked, we defend ourselves. If we can’t change our circumstances, we change and adapt to our environments. Humans thrive in all kinds of climates and conditions. Sometimes it seems that we are the coronavirus that the Earth contracted.

Are we a virus?

No. People of all faiths, or no faith, believe humans are different than viruses. We are sentient, self-aware. We know what we are. We have feelings. We can love others. We make sacrifices for each other. We mourn our dead and celebrate our triumphs. We make music and write poetry. We are more than just viruses. 

Most important of all, in my opinion, we can support and help each other. As far as we know, viruses don’t build hospitals, save for their kids’ college, or buy life insurance to support their family. They don’t pay taxes or join marches against injustice. They don’t tell jokes to make a friend laugh or send somebody an encouraging text. 

Viruses only care about one thing: continue to live, no matter the cost.

We need to continue to remember that we are so much more than a virus. We need to stop fouling our home and stop single-mindedly pursuing our own goals and freedoms to the detriment of others. Yes, it’s hard to sacrifice for others we don’t know (although our military and health providers do it all the time). Yes, wearing masks is a pain, but it saves the lives of our most vulnerable. Of course, taking a shot in the arm to make sure others don’t die is a big ask and an infringement on our free choice. After all, why should I put myself out like that? I’m healthy, I’m free to do what I want, and I don’t like people telling me what to do. I’ll be fine! Why should I sacrifice?

Why? Because we’re not viruses. Viruses take from others to exist. 

We are PEOPLE, and people care, joke, cry, dance, give, help, support, dream, rejoice, and love. 

Don’t be a virus. Let's get everybody vaccinated so we can stop this thing.  Support efforts to stop the virus.

Be a person.