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So baffling and eye-opening

Jun 13,2020 - Last updated at Jun 13,2020

Experiences never cease to baffle, amaze and instruct.

Just when one thinks one has figured it, or worked it, all out, something comes along that disrupts our thinking, and turns things topsy-turvy.

We have always believed, for instance, that the few can and do cause big damage.

And there are numerous examples.

With respect to traffic, those who commit flagrant violations are the few, not the many. But they do often hijack the scene, creating a great deal of havoc and concern, as has been happening in our society for years; and giving the impression that all is bad and hopeless.

In most institutions, especially in the public sector which is at present being so utterly subjected to so much disrespect and abuse, the negative and subversive elements in it are, again, much fewer than the positive and the constructive. At the same time, the few again create so much hassle and emit so much poison that one thinks the sector is beyond repair.

The same, more or less, can be said about our abuse of public spaces and the environment, bad consumption habits, failure to adhere to rules, etc.

Nevertheless, when we look at the overall picture within all of these contexts, and others, we come to the conclusion that after all no realm, no sphere, no human situation, no society is error-free or perfect.

In fact, one has to live with a margin of error, a degree of imperfection, a dimension of negativity, and even a level of abuse, subversion, and evil.

That is the way it is: less than half of the glass is empty, but the more is full. A fault, a flaw, a mishap, an error, a violation here and there is to be expected, and it is something, again, which we have to live with.

To err is human, as they say; and to forgive is divine, as they also say.

COVID-19, however, has come into the picture to shatter some of our convictions, many of which may in fact be no more than assumptions, make-belief.

How come a virus so tiny, so vulnerable can be so infectious, contagious, nasty and powerful?

It has hit hard and affected nearly all. Nations, big and small, stand helpless vis-à-vis the mighty power of such a tiny, unseen thing.

From a small lab or a small market in one city to the entire globe in less than two months. Lockdowns, shutdowns, closing of businesses, disruption of learning in millions of schools and universities worldwide, grounding of planes, etc..

The math of it is mind-boggling: one overpowers, outweighs billions.

But look also, in mathematical and philosophical terms, at how much one infected person with the virus can infect and affect.

We experienced this in our country, witnessing and living it firsthand.

The point here is maybe we have to reconsider our thinking about the damage caused by the tiny few or the minority spoken of above.

Maybe the impact of traffic violators, of the subversive elements in our institutions, of the abusers of our public spaces, etc. is not as minor or small as we tend to think, but is as major or big and spiral and consequential as the damage caused by COVID-19.

For this reason, maybe we should also reconsider our entire thought process. Maybe the way to deal with small harm here and there, which is actually not limited to here and there, is not tolerance, but zero tolerance.

What the world is ultimately hoping and aiming for is not confinement of the virus but its eradication.

One is aware of course that comparisons may not always be accurate, as what is applicable in one situation may not be applicable in another.

Nevertheless, some of the lessons of COVID-19 are so incredible, so baffling and so eye-opening.

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