We all know the gig; we are born, and at some time in the future, hopefully in the very distant future, we will die. Those two things are the only certainties of life. What we do in between those two certainties is what makes our life significant and worthwhile.
We have spent the last year doing everything that we can to prevent the second certainty of life to the point that many people have forgotten or neglected to do the very things that make the life we’re preserving worth living. To quote Robin Williams’ character John Keating, in the movie Dead Poets Society, “medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Human beings need those moments of life which bring transcendence that take us to an existence or experience beyond the purely physical level that give our lives meaning. This is the continual balancing act of human beings, between preserving life and experiencing life.
In the year 2020, we have spent so much of our energy concerned with sustaining our lives that have we forgotten or neglected what we are staying alive for? We have been continually told to “follow the science” as if science will lead us to the answers to all our problems. Scientists rarely factors in our humanity when prescribing protocols for humans.
We should follow the science on issues of science, but many of the problems that plague the world fall well beyond the purview of science. They are embedded in the hearts and souls of mankind. Greed, selfishness, hatred, mendacity, evil cannot be solved with a scientific theory or a mathematic equation. There is no vaccination to rid humanity of these viruses which are more pervasive and deadly than Covid-19.
Deifying science leads humans away from transcendence, and down the road to meaninglessness where everything is explained away, and demystified, dehumanized, creating a quasi-robotic existence where the purpose of life becomes sustaining life itself. And that is why so many have so easily have traded their transcendent moments and experiences this year for the promise of security, not fully understanding that type of existence is creating a more dangerous world.
Is this not the true and lasting lesson of the year of Covid for life post-Covid? Simply sustaining life is not enough, it is just as vital to pursue the things that make our lives worth living.
Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a frequent contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.