BacchusPeopleSpiegeloog 405: Together

Bacchus: Driven apart together

By June 26, 2020 No Comments

In these times of strict measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, I find it hard to determine whether people are being driven apart or brought together. Both seem to be happening at the same time and on multiple levels, resulting in some contradictory feelings for everyone. I wonder if there could be a bright side to the situation that may connect us people a bit more.

On an individual level, people are either physically separated or living on top of each other. Everyone is more or less confined within the four walls of their home, which for many might have become more of a cage than a place to live. If you live alone, you may be experiencing loneliness like you’ve never felt before. However, living together with others can be a challenge as well. Being stuck with each other for whole days, week after week, can also either bring you closer together or lead to annoyances and fights that drive you apart.

On a larger scale, contradictory patterns can be found as well. On the one hand nationalism seems to be rising, as most people have returned to or their country of origin and have to stay there for a while. Each government is making decisions to ensure the safety of their civilians, often putting their own country first. While this might bring the people of one country together, it also drives different nations apart. Some nations, for example, are actively trying to deny others a cure, by attempting to buy patents. Even within the European Union, an institute supposed to bring nations together, some countries are actively refusing to provide financial aid for each other – or at least like to argue about the details. Although maybe this was to be expected, since the EU is famous for theoretically uniting countries together, while in practice countries are still divided and argue about every decision.

Fortunately, this is not the end of the story. Some nations are brought together, because they are trying to help each other. Some neighbouring countries are for example sharing information, hospital beds and other supplies with each other. Again, on large a scale as well, people are both brought together and driven apart.

There is however one extraordinary aspect to this situation that can only bring the whole world closer together: we are all experiencing the same, strange, unfamiliar situation. Everywhere in the world people are trying to adapt to this new society we are suddenly part of. Some people are bored, some are trying to work from home, and many have lost relatives or friends to the virus. The fact that the whole world is going through these same experiences, is a unique factor that could bind us all. A common goal and experience might unite our divided world a little.

This sounds very optimistic and is probably not entirely true. Maybe the broad outline of the situation is the same for everyone, but certainly not every aspect of it. If I think about it, the lockdown has actually been very easy for me. I’m generally an introverted person; I don’t need or want a lot of social contact to begin with. Also, I’m not getting bored, since I have enough work to do for my studies and plenty of hobbies to occupy my time – these are golden times for making music, writing and gaming or learning new things like drawing or juggling. Finally, the advantages of spending the lockdown in a rich country (The Netherlands) are great as well. A lot of work and education is simply continued online, there is plenty of food and most companies that do suffer receive some form of monetary compensation, which can somewhat reduce their losses.

I feel lucky and grateful for all these factors that make the lockdown very bearable for me and I realise it might not be that ‘easy’ for everyone. I think this kind of contemplation is actually the thing that brings people together in this strange situation. It is a time for everyone to take a step back and appreciate what we have by realising what we (don’t) miss when society suddenly changes. Whether social distancing has been hard on you or not, the change it has made in our day to day rhythm can make us all realize what we want in life and let us reflect on what we are doing right or wrong. I think that despite all the bad things the situation has brought, it has given us a welcomed break from our usual lives. A break we can all use to do some deep thinking about our situation in order to have a new, fresh start afterwards. That might be the thing that definitely brings us all together; The global realisation of what our society has become and how we can rebuild and improve it together.

Cover picture by Rogier Alleblas

In these times of strict measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, I find it hard to determine whether people are being driven apart or brought together. Both seem to be happening at the same time and on multiple levels, resulting in some contradictory feelings for everyone. I wonder if there could be a bright side to the situation that may connect us people a bit more.

On an individual level, people are either physically separated or living on top of each other. Everyone is more or less confined within the four walls of their home, which for many might have become more of a cage than a place to live. If you live alone, you may be experiencing loneliness like you’ve never felt before. However, living together with others can be a challenge as well. Being stuck with each other for whole days, week after week, can also either bring you closer together or lead to annoyances and fights that drive you apart.

On a larger scale, contradictory patterns can be found as well. On the one hand nationalism seems to be rising, as most people have returned to or their country of origin and have to stay there for a while. Each government is making decisions to ensure the safety of their civilians, often putting their own country first. While this might bring the people of one country together, it also drives different nations apart. Some nations, for example, are actively trying to deny others a cure, by attempting to buy patents. Even within the European Union, an institute supposed to bring nations together, some countries are actively refusing to provide financial aid for each other – or at least like to argue about the details. Although maybe this was to be expected, since the EU is famous for theoretically uniting countries together, while in practice countries are still divided and argue about every decision.

Fortunately, this is not the end of the story. Some nations are brought together, because they are trying to help each other. Some neighbouring countries are for example sharing information, hospital beds and other supplies with each other. Again, on large a scale as well, people are both brought together and driven apart.

There is however one extraordinary aspect to this situation that can only bring the whole world closer together: we are all experiencing the same, strange, unfamiliar situation. Everywhere in the world people are trying to adapt to this new society we are suddenly part of. Some people are bored, some are trying to work from home, and many have lost relatives or friends to the virus. The fact that the whole world is going through these same experiences, is a unique factor that could bind us all. A common goal and experience might unite our divided world a little.

This sounds very optimistic and is probably not entirely true. Maybe the broad outline of the situation is the same for everyone, but certainly not every aspect of it. If I think about it, the lockdown has actually been very easy for me. I’m generally an introverted person; I don’t need or want a lot of social contact to begin with. Also, I’m not getting bored, since I have enough work to do for my studies and plenty of hobbies to occupy my time – these are golden times for making music, writing and gaming or learning new things like drawing or juggling. Finally, the advantages of spending the lockdown in a rich country (The Netherlands) are great as well. A lot of work and education is simply continued online, there is plenty of food and most companies that do suffer receive some form of monetary compensation, which can somewhat reduce their losses.

I feel lucky and grateful for all these factors that make the lockdown very bearable for me and I realise it might not be that ‘easy’ for everyone. I think this kind of contemplation is actually the thing that brings people together in this strange situation. It is a time for everyone to take a step back and appreciate what we have by realising what we (don’t) miss when society suddenly changes. Whether social distancing has been hard on you or not, the change it has made in our day to day rhythm can make us all realize what we want in life and let us reflect on what we are doing right or wrong. I think that despite all the bad things the situation has brought, it has given us a welcomed break from our usual lives. A break we can all use to do some deep thinking about our situation in order to have a new, fresh start afterwards. That might be the thing that definitely brings us all together; The global realisation of what our society has become and how we can rebuild and improve it together.

Cover picture by Rogier Alleblas

Julius Dullaert

Author Julius Dullaert

Julius Dullaert (1998) is a third year psychology student, interested in Social Psychology and Philosophy. He likes to write about society, memory and music.

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