Coronavirus pandemic is spreading at a terrifyingly threatening pace. Every single day, it counts dozens of thousands of new cases and a growing number of deaths worldwide.
We still don’t have enough information about the novel virus COVID-19. But it seems that no one is safe. Coronavirus doesn’t make distinctions when it comes to a patient’s age, sex or socioeconomic status. Even young and healthy people can possibly develop severe symptoms and even die.
But every crisis teaches us important lessons, and the coronavirus crisis is no exception. And one of the most powerful lessons we should learn from the pandemic of COVID-19 is about what kind of people and lifestyles we are glorifying as a society.
The Culture of Consumerism and Showbiz
We all know very well that our society is based on consumerism. It means that to make this society and economy work, we as citizens need to constantly consume different goods and services.
The most important word here is constantly. Society uses a set of tools to make us believe that we need to buy more, newer and better stuff all the time.
“Wait, you have a two-year-old iPhone? What a shame, you need to immediately get yourself a new one because [list features here]!”
To keep the economic cycles running, we need to participate in the endless circle of consumption. But do we really need to buy all that stuff that gets advertised so persistently?
And this is where the second component of consumer society comes into play. The media and showbiz. Their function is to distract us from the truth and to destroy every seed of critical thought in our minds.
With such a huge choice of TV shows, series, movies and sports programs we have today, we keep ourselves constantly busy. More precisely, we keep our minds busy. We continuously consume useless information in the same way we consume unnecessary products. As a result, our minds stay occupied with insignificant, superficial stuff and safe from analysis and deep thought.
And this way, we remain unconscious enough to keep the never-ending cycle of consumption going. Because without critical thinking, it’s impossible to wake up and see the truth.
The Role Models of Today
To maintain this mindset, our society is glorifying all types of vanity and shallowness. Thus, the role models of today’s society are people like actors, pop singers, sports players and TV personalities.
Just think about it. How often do you see news about inventors, doctors or scientists on TV or web? And how much information is there about celebrities and media personalities? And I’m not even talking about the unthinkable gap between the incomes of famous people and regular salaries. I’m just talking about the attention each category gets.
What Is Coronavirus Pandemic Doing to Our Society?
Coronavirus pandemic has changed all this for now. With more and more countries taking social distancing measures, economic activity has gone dramatically down. Restaurants, malls and outlets are closing and thus, excessive consumerism decreases too. Concerts, movie production and sports events are canceled, and the whole showbiz industry is basically put on hold.
And guess what? Nothing has really changed now when soccer players and actors sit at home. But imagine what would happen if doctors or community workers suddenly stopped doing their job? No one would be there to save your life, deliver electric power to your home or collect your trash. This would be a real disaster for everyone.
Coronavirus pandemic shows us the real value of underestimated professions. The real power of ordinary people. Everyday deeds and self-sacrifice of those whose income is multiple times lower than that of showbiz personalities.
Doctors and nurses all over the world work unimaginable shifts, risking their own health and lives for the sake of saving other people. They are the real heroes who hold humanity’s future in their hands. The photos below show the exhausted faces of Chinese doctors and convey this message in a more powerful way than words ever could.
Salute! Photos of frontline doctors and nurses taking off their masks during short breaks in their fight against the novel #coronavirus moved millions of netizens across China. pic.twitter.com/qN6jvFf6jz
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 2, 2020
Our Society Needs to Reconsider Its Values
Maybe coronavirus pandemic is here to teach human society a few lessons. We should finally stop glorifying shallow and narcissistic personalities. People who make unreal amounts of money on drama, show and stupidity. Those who care about nothing but drawing attention to themselves.
Instead, we should appreciate individuals who save lives and make society work without getting any recognition. These invisible heroes self-sacrifice so that we can continue our daily lives. And they are the only true heroes in our world who are worth glorifying.
In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who is working in these uneasy times. You can’t imagine how important you are. Thank you and stay safe.
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