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Coronavirus Crisis: The Future is Now

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on April 20, 2020 14:06

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How do we wish to live after this pandemic is over? To go back to the routines of 2019...or to chart a new course for a changed world, to find new ways of living post-Coronavirus?

Not to downplay the horrors of pandemic disease, but one of the unexpected developments of the Coronavirus crisis has been seeing the future predicted in science-fiction come to life.

And not just dystopian techno-thrillers about epidemics like The Andromeda Strain (1969).

The future of my childhood seems to have finally arrived, due to restrictions on activity during lockdown.

Walking one block from my house, I saw a Starship delivery robot that looked like a cousin of Star Wars' R2-D2, working for a local shop, Broad Branch Market.

I teach classes online and attended religious services for Easter and Passover using Facebook and Zoom. My work as a small publisher uses Amazon KDP and IngramSpark, audiobooks with ACX. And writing columns for happens on our own publishing platform.

Working virtually paradoxically feels more connected to the world than before, including my Fitbit sleep monitor, a reminder of astronauts' telemetry from moon-shot days.

A cousin living in Bahrain texts What's App. My elderly mother living in total quarantine talks to me on FaceTime. I get the latest news from Twitter and calls come in on VoIP or cell phones from in-laws, family and friends. Some who haven't been in touch for a long time check in for news.

A local CSA delivers fresh vegetables, eggs and dairy. Safeway pharmacy delivers  prescriptions. And of course almost anything from Amazon.

Cooking at home means saving on restaurant bills, eating healthier and losing weight.

Entertainment from around the world comes from YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services, as well as Metropolitan Opera and free Hampstead Theatre. 

Not to mention Alexa, which plays almost any radio station on the globe, also allowing me to "drop in" on people.

With less traffic on the streets, neighborhood walks for exercise have become a pleasure that far outweighs going to a gym. There is virtually no air pollution. Streets are quiet, with beautiful flowering trees and shrubs.

In addition, I'm catching up on my reading, pulling books off the shelf bought years ago.

So I'm beginning to understand how Shakespeare may have written "King Lear"; Pushkin's Eugene Onegin; and Newton discovered calculus, while they were quarantined for plague.

A forced break in routine creates time for reflection, contemplation, and a general taking-stock. Literally, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to refresh oneself, like shutting down a computer and restarting it in a hard reset after a crash.

Sleep patterns are changed, and like it or not, life goals thrown into sharp perspective. 

How do we wish to live after this is over? To go back to the routines of 2019 ... or to chart a new course for a changed world, to find new ways of living post-Coronavirus?

The future has finally arrived, due to an involuntary Coronavirus "time-out." 

We are all astronauts living in capsules, except our Coronavirus capsules travel through time into the future, instead of outer space.

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on April 20, 2020 14:06


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Source: The Guardian

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