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  • erinschrode

The World as we Know It

This is not the end of the world, but it is the end of the world as we know it. Unprecedented change is occurring with unfathomable speed, scale and reach. Nothing, no one and no system will remain untouched by these fundamental shifts all across earth — and I brace myself for far worse to come. Think about life just last week. Now consider today. And what of tomorrow or tomorrow’s tomorrow, let alone next week or the months and years ahead, even the decades and centuries?

The present situation is dire, desperate, devastating on many fronts in countless ways for vast segments of the populations — a sobering, serious situation not to be overlooked, made light of or trivialized. I feel that heavy weight, seek to do my part personally and actively work to combat the negative societal ramifications — and fully recognize my immense privilege to have a safe roof over my head, food in my pantry, charged laptop to type into, even the mental capacity to entertain such thoughts. These times feel panicky, isolated, hopeless or any wide range of troubling emotions, but nothing can persist forever. All is temporary: good, indifferent, bad and horrific. Even without knowing what comes next or when, I cannot allow myself to be entirely consumed by horrors, fear, stress and doom.

Everything is being rewired, reprogrammed, recreated as we speak. Systems are wholly upended — out of necessity. What was is no longer — and will never return as such. “Normal" is a distant memory — which while painful to consider, did not serve the bulk of people or our shared planet justly. Nothing about this is remotely a blessing, but it is our current reality, and therefore we have a responsibility to adapt, to innovate, to act swiftly and comprehensively. An idea that once seemed radical or impossible may now be doable, reasonable, even inevitable, especially ones that relate to the healthcare system which is crumbling, social safety nets tested like never before, financial services in utter turmoil.

We need miracles — and I refuse to stop praying for light, for breakthroughs — but we also need concerted dedication of efforts, energy and resources to spur advancement, discoveries and solutions that are sustainable, relevant, implementable. Justice, equity and values play into the bigger picture, as we begin to pick up the pieces of systems that are devastating us all now, crippling some and failed too many for too long. Could there be opportunities for leaps, progress and evolution? Yes, there already are. While we shelter in place, follow public health guidelines and heed safety precautions, scientists and investors, doctors and philosophers, systems thinkers and everyday citizens, techies and business leaders, everyone anywhere across all fields are working full speed ahead on solutions. We need them now — to save lives and safeguard societies. And can use them moving forward toward more macro necessary change to come as well. This is the moment.


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