Avidya is a Buddhist concept that describes a kind of ignorance that stems from an inability to see the nature of reality. The word “vidya” is the root of our word “video” and comes from ancient Sanskrit meaning “to see” — hence avidya is “not seeing the reality of things.” I believe that it’s possible that COVID-19 may have a surprisingly beneficial side effect, to bring humanity into a state of “covidya” — the capacity to more clearly see the reality of things… together.
To understand the big picture, take a journey back in time with me, way back to the Cambrian explosion 500 million years ago… when we were single cells trying to figure out how to evolve into multi-cellular organisms. This particular process of advancing to the next stage of evolution, called coadunation, required learning how to work together. I propose that the very first requirement for the coming coadunation of human consciousness is learning how to see reality clearly collectively.
It’s occurred to me that this pandemic might even be a test for humanity, albeit a cruel learning experience that could wipe out a huge swath of our species if we fail. And it’s more than just this pandemic. Eric Toner, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has said, “Infectious diseases will continue to emerge and re-emerge. I think it’s part of the world we live in now, an age of epidemics because of globalization, because of encroachment on wild environments.” If so, then we will be forced to repeat this painful test, as well as others like climate change, over and over until we learn the lessons and evolve.
To say this in plain language, for humanity to survive, those who deny facts and science and maliciously attempt to distort reality for their own benefit need to stop! It’s time to hop onboard the Global Brain Train, and join the rest of humanity in a state of covidya. Join us in humanity’s next evolutionary leap.
So, in a state of covidya, what are the lessons of this pandemic?
Lesson 1: See Reality Clearly; Trust the Science
Simply put, everyone needs to trust the science, act rationally, and work toward a common goal, such as the collective effort to “flatten the curve” of the epidemic so more people will survive COVID-19. No more gaslighting this pandemic; a new age of science is now beginning. Remember, the Black Death of Middle Ages eventually led to the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.
Lesson 2: Problems Are Actually Opportunities
Actually, I believe that this pandemic is also a remarkable opportunity for innovators. Over the last couple of weeks, I simply can’t stop having ideas about products and services that could flourish during the pandemic. It’s a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs to test their mettle and step up to the challenge.
It’s a serious opportunity to get innovative and make some money. It’s like that movie, The Martian, when Matt Damon’s character says, “In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option… I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.” Our only option is for us to collectively rise up and science the shit out of this pandemic.
Did you know that Isaac Newton achieved his greatest breakthroughs in calculus, optics, and even gravity… when he was forced to “shelter in place” during the bubonic plague in 1665–67? So can you! This is your chance to come up with brilliant ideas to save lives and the economy.
Lesson 3: Now Is the Time to Lean in and Lead
As cities and countries “lockdown” to contain the virus and slow its spread, a remarkable period of isolation is being presented to us. Some of us will spend this time playing video games and watching porn. Others will prefer to watch Fox News peddle racist conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus. And more than a few will get lonely and depressed during their sequestration.
However, I suggest that a different path is possible. Perhaps we can view this coming period of isolation as a profound opportunity for introspection, which may trigger a personal awakening and provides us with an opportunity to develop a new kind of leadership for the 21st century that encourages resilience.
The difference between winning and losing is measured by your resilience during a downturn. When a pandemic and global recession hits, you can either be like a deer frozen in the headlights, or a lion responding to a sudden threat to its pride. If you go into shock or get depressed, you won’t survive or thrive as adroitly as someone who loves a challenge and instantly rises to the occasion. It’s time to be a hero, not a zero.
There’s saying in Silicon Valley, that “entrepreneurs are like teabags… you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.” Well, we’re all in hot water now. The next several months should provide us with a remarkable opportunity to test our mettle and show the world what we’re made of.
This is perhaps the greatest lesson of covidya — that all of us, together, must demonstrate collective intelligence, courage, and cohesion. It is no longer possible to lie, shift blame, and gaslight. All of us, seeing and working together, can not only persevere, but there’s a chance that we can do something amazing. If so, our species will emerge from this challenging time, ready to take the next step in human evolution.
This is not the end of the world, but maybe the beginning of a new one. If we rise to the challenges of this pandemic, it could strengthen us. It could evolve us. It could bring us to the doorway of humanity’s next renaissance.
This is a labor pain that could lead to the birth of coadunated consciousness.
Note: A longer version of this article, including suggestions for strengthening personal and business resilience can be read on my website: futurelabconsulting.com