The human being IS in society. And now, more than ever, the consciousness of the deep, inevitable, unrelenting, connection we all share, beyond the spatial and personal borders, requires us to redefine ourselves:
I am a unique and irreplaceable individual, a member of the human network, also unique and irreplaceable.
Never, in the history of mankind, has there been a context where the dichotomy between being for myself and/or being for the other has been so exposed.
It’s now, in this current historical context, when we must understand the conflicts that come from personal problems or from “poorly made” decisions, according to from which point of view of the “for me or for the other” disjunctive we assess it.
Each of us has to make decisions about our personal care that no one (unless it’s a baby, a small child, a disabled person) can make for us. From washing our hands to not putting our fingers in our mouths, nose or eyes, the question “if I am not for me, who will be?” appears.
At the same time, a second question ensues: “if I am only for me, what am I?”. Because now, staying at home, not seeing people, not hugging anyone and not pampering grandchildren, not hugging or comforting a sick father or mother, like some experts recommended seems to go against human nature. And the answer to the first question only makes sense when we answer the second question: that only if we take (good) care of ourselves then we are taking care of others.
A few days ago, a doctor appeared on the news asking people not to steal important material from hospitals. It seems obvious, buts it’s not. If the hospitals run out of resources to take care of seriously ill patients, or if doctors get sick due to the lack of masks or alcohol that where stolen to “take care of myself” better, I’m not taking good care of myself, because I won’t have adequate medical attention if I need it. At the same time, there are wonderful examples of human generosity and solidarity, through small individual and collective gestures.
So, maybe the seriousness of this pandemic will teach us that the best and only way to take (good) care of oneself is by (also) taking (good) care of others.