In the last few days friends, familiar faces and readers have turned to me with the question, what I think of the crisis. ‘I need a reassuring voice’ said many of them. The same way others completely got out of sight, who were only in my life due to the right of the last word. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint all the interested parties, flatterers, critics, because: I’m not an expert in it.
This writing levels especially at the know-it-alls, who channel their fear through cockiness over others – regardless of the crisis –, who take tenderness as weakness, at those, who live their life under quarantine anyway: a mental quarantine.
In these times I’m diving deep into my writing. In this process I have to accept the reality, that I’m just one subtle shade on the world’s colorful palette. Subtle, but knowing, that without the other colors, I couldn’t be, who I am. Being aware, that if one color sits for far too long on the palette, it begins to feel useless and afraid of drying out before even coming to life on a work of art. The burden of loneliness falls down on it, which at first inevitably drives its carrier to despair: it begins to get loud, moreover, begins to shout to get noticed. It’s still not there yet. Its time has not come yet. But is there any color, which no artist would ever like to paint on a canvas? Is the continuous rivalry with others really the solution for ending the struggles against oneself? For me it seems that in the light of the world’s constant changes we get to our role and with the perception and acceptance of these changes we go back into our tube to rest.
If I look around, I see, that many – with some honorable exceptions – fight aggressively for their role beforehand, without being able to identify with it later in time. The loudness leads to arguments, thus the color peels off the canvas, its light tones down, its fulness begins to craze in no time, and along these cracks – like the virus – it pulls the whole work of art down. It wasn’t quite there yet, hasn’t understood its purpose. What will be the fate of these half-finished work of arts? They get stuck and are doomed in the shadow of the past, floating without a purpose in the shade and in the end, you only hear the voices of despair from far away. Deepening and suffering always has to come before selection. Always.
I have to disappoint those, who chase the illusion, that they are always an expert in everything.
It’s not my place to judge the economic risks of the epidemic, because I’m not an expert in it. It’s not my place to say, what kind of mask to wear, because I’m not an expert in it. It’s not my place to say, when to stay home and self-quarantine, because I’m not an expert in it. The excessive pedantry is an always returning accompany of humanity. In 1990 – an idea initiated by Carl Sagan –, when the Earth’s first selfie was taken from a distance of nearly 6 billion kilometers, the astronomist crowned this breathtaking picture with the following breathtaking speech:
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand..
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
I sincerely hope, that during the epidemic and from there on out every day the chance of trusting in each other will rise: in a smile, in a half-spoken word, in a look, in treeplanting, in a poem, in a glass of wine.
I sincerely hope, those who have been blind so far, will have the courage to look around and I hope, those who have been deaf so far, will finally hear the silence too in themselves!
So now what is your purpose on Earth?