This is a story I tell all the time to my nieces and nephews. The lessons learned from how selfish one person can be is a great source of morals that both infants and adults can use to label a nasty attitude.
Some people call for freedom in all shapes and shades. It is essential for each individual to practice his and her freedom fully. Here’s the issue with this approach: if your freedom practice is missing those two essential factors, it’s no longer freedom — it’s transpassing to others’ peace of mind territory and, in our case, well-being.
The two factors any freedom conquest needs are:
1- An ethical lense.
2- A society umbrella.
Here’s why the above two are essential:
The Ethical Lens
When our motivation is born solely from our individual desires, that eliminates the sense or others. You no longer see anyone else but yourself, and thus, you don’t care if you seek for the alleged freedom will harm anyone or fall under the ethical standards of right or wrong.
“Why should I care?” You ask. We are humans — we were created to care. Not caring is the opposite of everything we were molded in. It is the contrast of what the word ‘human’ stands for.
The Society Umbrella
We live in packs. The one thing COVID has proven is the fact that humans can survive alone, but they need each other to thrive and live happily. We help and support each other; it’s in our DNA. Failing to act under the umbrella of ‘us’ and ‘we’ breaks the first criteria. We need to act in harmony, move together, and conquer together.
Remember the old story of the dying man who gathered his sons, asked each one of them to break a single straw. The poor single wooden straw broke in a blink. When the wise old man asked his sons to take a big pack of wooden straws and try again to break it — no one could. The moral of the story: divided we fall, united we conquer. This is not a cliche; this is life lessons thought the hard way.
The Collective Power
The above shall show you the importance of acting for the benefit of our society, especially in times of crisis. examples:
- Buying an extra pack of paper toilets when your neighbor has none.
- Bypassing people in line because you’re in a hurry, assuming others are here for a sunbathe.
- Starting your car horn once the light turned green to urge the ten cars in front of you to hurry because, in your mind, they are not waiting for the light but for a ufo to pass by.
I can go all day; you got the point.
When I first heard this story, I felt surprised trying to digest how this lady’s brain is functioning. Then, I became angry about how one person may believe in core their life is more worthy than others. Later, I became worried about our reality and how surreal yet real this scenario was: one soul can, and did, ruin the deeds of a whole country to control a world pandemic. One soul can trash a massive effort of a country to serve its citizens when one citizen decides not to act as a loyal one.
The Korean Cluster
This is old news now, but early in February this year, the Korean number of COVID cases increased over the course of a few days. It was surprising to see the country bypassing other countries to take its place on top of the declared cases, considering the perfect control of the disease the Korean government showed from day one of the crisis.
This all changed due to one aspect: the emergence of patient 31.
Here’s a clear map of each case in Korea since the 1st case emerged as per Reuters Graphics:
The Cursed Number 31
The date when this patient was infected is not clear, but on February 6th, she got involved in a minor accident when she was submitted to the hospital. While at that hospital, she attended services at the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, on February 9 and again on February 16.
On February 15, doctors at the hospital suggested she be tested for the coronavirus, as she had a high fever — the lady refused. Instead, she went to a buffet lunch with a friend at a hotel. As her symptoms worsened, doctors advised her again to be tested. She finally took the test on February 17 in another hospital, and the next day, health authorities announced she was the country’s 31st confirmed case.
In only a matter of days, those numbers had soared as hundreds of people at the Shincheonji Church and surrounding areas tested positive.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) obtained a list of 9,300 people who had attended the two Shincheonji church services, around 1,200 of whom had complained of flu-like symptoms.
By March 18th, the Shincheonji Church cluster accounted for at least 60% of all cases in South Korea.
The Wolf Between the Bushes
The behavior above is problematic. The fact that this patient is not alone, and we have many “patient 31”s walking among us should be alarming.
The call for more freedom shall come only with the burden of knowing your limits, the same way you know your rights.
When the act of one is affecting a nation and jeopardizing efforts of seizing control over a wide-spreading pandemic, it’s the duty of you and me to enhance the collective thinking.
The ways we can enhance and enforce collective thinking is by practicing the following:
#1 — Kindness
Let the older lady bypass you in the line, and give your seat to the lady with the kid. Stand up for the black lady who was called a nasty word, then take it further by starting a conversation with her. The world will expand to the same extinct of your kindness — make it huge.
#2 — Mercy
Have a wider heart that is vast enough to include everyone. Be merciful in thinking of your neighbors, your elder friend’s father, and the money guy who lives three blocks away.
The act of mercy is contagious, and life has a weird way of paying in kind. Watch out which currency you choose to pay others.
#3 — Equality
When you look at others as equals — you are not above anyone, and one is above you. We all exist on the same patch where what hits one hits all. Yes, the old musketeers “All for one and one for all” cliche shall be the cliche of all of us in times of crisis.
I, in no case, am asking you to ignore yourself. On the contrast, I ask you to pamper yourself more amid a pandemic. Just don’t step on others in the process.