IONS founding principle is that we’re all interconnected. How has this been reflected in the wake of the pandemic?
First of all, the spread of COVID-19 shows that you are only so many air molecules from Wuhan, China – no matter where you are located. In August 2022, with 600 million reported cases, most people had either had the virus or knew about someone who had.
Feeling connected is a basic human need. Connectedness increases physical and mental wellbeing and even makes us live longer!
And when we couldn’t connect in the physical, human creativity invented other ways.
The Metamorphosis of Human Interconnectedness
It’s hard to replace the feeling of meeting in person, hugging, and looking into other people’s eyes.
The good news? We are sentient beings. Wellbeing is about what we feel more than what we do to evoke those emotions.
So what if we could replicate the same emotional state through activities other than meeting physically?
As the multidimensional beings we are, we could imagine two main ways of connecting:
The first one is on a physical level – but with restrictions. Examples are neighbors playing music together on balconies, online events, and Zoom weddings and celebrations.
Another example of interconnection during COVID was when needing to contact your connections after contracting the virus. Many were surely surprised by how many people they were indirectly connected to during the last few days!
The second is on a subtle level through noetic experiences. Evidence of this invisible connection is that the Global Consciousness Project showed measurable deviations in the collective consciousness just after the announcement of lockdowns globally. Meditation and mindfulness apps saw a surge in downloads following the pandemic outbreak, indicating that people sought to experience interconnectedness on an energetic level.
It would be interesting to examine the use of psychedelics and transcendent practices. Similar to meditation, one could expect them to increase as a way of reaping the benefits of feeling connected without connecting physically.
A third example, which could be viewed as a mix of the first two, would be exploring virtual realities through artificial intelligence. Could you attend a concert in a virtual reality provoke the same feelings of belonging and connection as you attending the show in-person? This could be an interesting scientific study.
Separation: An Illusion?
The ruling material worldview has made us trust the concept of boundaries to protect us. Physically, boundaries make sense – our physical bodies have a clear outer edge defined by the skin. Countries can be separated by drawing lines on a map.
But as we have seen, there is more to reality than the material. And it affects us all every moment of every day.
Boundaries give the illusion that we’re safe as long as we protect our own country.
The solution lies in the connection. Just as it did for our mental wellbeing during the lockdown.
We need to realize that on an individual level, health is a multidimensional concept and depends on the state of your body, mind, and spirit.
We need to realize that on a national level, health is not something isolated. Health, security, and the economy are intertwined.
We need to realize that on an international level, health knows no borders – and the wellbeing of humanity is only as high as its weakest link.
Finally – COVID-19 has proven that inevitably, the “good” can go viral as much as the “bad”. While we can’t control the spread of viruses, we have the power to increase the presence of the good. Good intentions. Good health.
All you need is to affect one person positively to create a ripple effect.
Because, as the pandemic has shown us – we’re all connected.