15 Jul It’s time to raise our Communal Intelligence Quotient
I’m making a bold statement: WE will not reach a state of immunity or safety again until the sacred balance of individual expression (freewill) lines up with choices that honor our communal well-being (freedom). The greatest problem we face right now is the blurring of freewill and freedom. Freedom is only possible if everyone is free, so until WE all agree on a plan of communal safety we will continue to see the virus surge and we will suffer.
COVID-19, whether you believe it is part of an evil plot, engineered in a lab to wreak havoc in the world or a viral messenger from Mother Earth – either way it’s here and how we perceive it makes it either our teacher or our adversary. I believe it is the former and not the later that will yield the greater benefit.
From the start, the novelty of this virus rests in what we don’t know about it, how it works, and how to rid or cure ourselves of it. The rush to a vaccine and treatments are a valiant effort, but my sense is this virus is here to teach us so much more than how to expedite outcomes in a lab or clinical trial.
We are in such a hurry to “get back to normal,” I sense we are missing something more profound. More than anything, I wonder if we are perceiving this situation through an old lens. I believe if we are to learn the lesson it’s offering us, we are going to have apply novel thinking to this novel virus.
At first blush, COVID was labeled a respiratory virus. And then it began to manifest with blood clots in some and rashes and organ failure in others. The virus can be spread whether someone is symptomatic or not and it doesn’t seem to offer long term immunity for those that have contracted and recovered. There are also a lot of concerns about negative long-term effects from organ damage. In other words, it has both an acute phase and potentially a chronic phase. It’s clear we are not listening to those who can help us navigate more effectively in this moment, let alone act with urgency to do better in the future.
What we do know comes from the minute-by-minute, case-by-case outcomes we are tracking. The numbers tell us that those with co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (all chronic life-style diseases) are more likely to advance to a more severe reaction to the virus. There are hints that this virus may find vulnerabilities not just in the lungs but also in our blood as certain blood types are trending as more vulnerable. Those with compromised immune systems are trending more vulnerable than those with healthy immune systems.
The contagion properties of the virus, and its yet to be fully determined mortality rates, tells me we are still early in this lesson plan. Even as we sporadically respond by sheltering in place, deploying masks, gloves, and temperature screenings, while closing down businesses, economies, etc. we are a long way from managing our response in a way that has been adopted for communal benefit. These measures were, at first so novel, that we mostly complied, but as time wore on and fears of economic uncertainty rose, we are now rushing back to “normal” as fast and as far as we can stretch epidemiological advice to fit our mania.
It seems, as imperfectly as all these steps have, and are still being implemented, we are now determining that we would be in much worse shape if we had not done anything at all. It’s clear we have a lot more say in how much we are willing to risk the health and well-being of all, if we are ready to learn.
We are having a love affair with New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, for her humane and sane approach to the virus. There are powerful lessons to be gleaned from those that managed to address the virus, not through the lens of politics or punditry, but with a high degree of Communal Intelligence. This idea of Communal Intelligence falls in line with Emotional and Social Intelligence but is expanded beyond the individual to the collective.
Raising our Communal Intelligence Quotient is the best chance we have for beating the virus. period.
May it be so,
May it BELove!