Raipur: It hasn’t been easy for most to wade through the last several months. It is like saying the sun sets in the West. It is obvious, yes, but still needs to be said. It wasn’t easy.
How we dealt with it at individual and community levels, how the various intensities of discomfort that we faced were different, whether what we did was right or wrong is not what we are discussing here. The fact that the world needs a radical change in how we look at trying situations is something that needs discussing.
The pandemic that we have recently seen, and, indeed, are in the heat of even as I type this, has opened up a plethora of questions and worries that we knew were long time coming, but always hoped that it wouldn’t be in our lifetime. One of the most crucial ones is how to combat unprecedented and unexpected global challenges that have implications for the entire planet.
The COVID 19 pandemic is the most tangible one in recent times because it has affected all of our social, economic and political setups. Not surprisingly, there are varying socio-economic and political systems that respond differently to the same thing. While some societies have managed the situation and held it in control, others are still facing frustrating rise in mortality and related implications. It would be judicious, then, to look for some answers if we want to know how the current situation can be curbed and similar ones prevented in the future.
Some theorists are now raising the need to also take a look at our cultural leanings. The reason is based on the fact that the spread of the sickness affected different countries differently. There are some obvious contenders such as population and political agendas but a study by psychologists from different universities in Israel and Switzerland has uncovered an interesting point of view – the opposing responsive and reactive effects of individualism and collectivism.
Individualism in a society is a cultural response that stresses the needs of the individual more than that of the community. In contrast, collectivism focuses on the greater good – the needs of the entire community. The study found that societies that focus more on individual needs tended to struggle more
in the last year. People, who culturally feel they need to be responsible for the betterment and safety their community ended up acting as a powerful group.
As we struggle to make people in our country understand the importance of community requirements, which in the current case translate as social distancing, wearing a mask, and sanitizing regularly, we need to find out whether the common man thinks of only his needs or those of the larger community. In an individualistic society such as the USA, it was difficult to mobilize the cooperation of a large number of people. New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo went on record to say, “Yeah it's your life do whatever you want, but you are now responsible for my life…. We started saying, it's not about me it's about we.”
The vision of a better world, whether it is the pandemic or any of the numerous issues that ail our society, will benefit a lot from how we define ourselves. Now that vaccines are out and might help bring down the numbers, we need to, as a collective see where our cultural leanings take us – through the door of me or that of we.
Mental Health Promoter
Pranic Healing Enthusiast