Our societies are in the middle of a crisis. The pandemic is asking us to think about what it means to be human living in community—not only with other people but also with the rest of creation, including animals—especially if it’s true that the virus originated from an animal source. All over the world, it has become a time of physical distancing, isolation. As a result, in this time of pandemic, people die in hospitals and long-term-care homes without the support of loved ones. It raises the question: How do we live more humanely?
But the combination of marches across the world, horrifying images in our browsers, and conversations in the media mean that what is on most of our minds is the unnecessary murder—and yes, I said “murder,” not death—of George Floyd. And he is only one name in a long litany of people who are killed because of their skin colour. In the face of these horrors, we ask: What does it mean to be human? It is an urgent question in this time of crisis.
In all the debates about where society is heading, about what’s wrong with the world, or what it looks like for a society to flourish, it can be wearisome to listen to a cacophony of dissonant voices. The debates seem to go around and around in circles. And so often these conversations are steeped in a backstory of politics and ideologies, and all the while, we are in danger of losing our souls—our humanity—in the noise of all the words.