Five lessons we learnt from 2020

Aurelio Porfiri

I am sure that if someone were to ask you what memories from 2020 you would like to carry forward, I guess there will be nothing positive,  especially if you lived in places which were strongly affected by the pandemic. Writing from Italy, you will know that my perspective is strongly influenced by the situation that we are now living in. But we also need to learn lessons even from unpleasant events and these are the five lessons that I think I have learnt.

1. Science is good but can also be dangerous. Of course we rely on science to find a cure or a vaccine to help us fight this virus. But when our lives are completely regulated by a sort of “medical dictatorship” it is a sad situation, because science is made up of different points of view, so many from the disciplines that can be called “scientific.” If one prevails, it only brings lots of problems and issues. Science without ethics and religion is potentially very dangerous.

2. Technology is here to stay. I think that the pandemics have definitively pushed the role of technology a step forward. How many of us have really understood how technology, if well used, can be very convenient for our jobs because of the constraints of this time. We would need to rethink carefully how technology can be integrated into our future activities, in a more reasonable way when we will be out of this pandemic.

3. Social proximity is important. Now that we have learnt social distancing, I think we will need to learn how to be close to each other again. This will probably not be very difficult for adults, but I think it will be more difficult for young people, who were bombarded (at least here) with strong warnings on this very subject. I think all these continuous warnings will have an impact at a psychological level which we have to fight in the coming year. We have to learn again that it will be beautiful hugging people, kissing people or shaking hands.

4. Traveling makes us better people. How many of us cannot travel because of the pandemic? But in this way we have rediscovered how many good things we owe to our travels, meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing new cultures. This year we missed all of this and we can really feel that it was important. 

5. Life is fragile, despite the progress. Yes, we are all proud of the advancements in science and technology in our time, but at the end we also discover that our own existence is still frail and not certain. Probably some people have to look beyond and consider that the spiritual dimension of their lives is not against their material dimension but only an enrichment, a completion of the material dimension.

Here comes 2021 …