The Virus as a Symbol For Our Actions

I had a thought today… which isn’t dissimilar from any other day. I have thoughts a lot. Probably too much. I’m a bit addicted to thoughts. I’m learning how to not engage with thought all of the time. Sometimes it’s okay to be thought-free. It has helped me to meditate and get in tune with my body more. I think part of it seems to be if I’m not thinking, I feel like I’m not accomplishing something.

But where does a thought come from anyway? Actually, fuck this. I don’t want to go into this conversation right now. That’s not the thought I wanted to talk about. The thought I had was about the coronavirus, and how a virus is a symbol for an action.

Let me explain what I mean. (Not that anyone is holding me back, preventing me to explain. Whatever, it’s just a term. You know what I mean.) So, say you are having a bit of a rough go of it today, and you go to buy a pack of cigarettes. You ask the cashier for a pack of Marlboro 100’s, but he hands you a pack of Marlboro shorts. Instead of correcting his mistake politely, you decide to be an asshole. You call him an idiot, or dumb, or just give him that look like he must be mentally abject to not get you the correct pack of cigarettes.

The cashier was having a fine day. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad. It was hanging in the balance, but your actions swung it towards a bad day. He’s upset for the next few minutes, and another customer enters the store as you leave. He asks the cashier if the car wash is open, and the cashier says it is not. The customer asks why the wash isn’t open, and the cashier replies “because I said it’s not,” and glares sharply at the customer.

That customer is quite put off by the cashiers attitude. She storms out of the station and into her car. In a flurry, she punches the gas while she’s looking up a different car wash to go to on her phone. By the time she looks up, it’s too late. She has already run over the elderly woman who was walking in front of her. The elderly woman passes away at the hospital.

The moral of the story is that our actions manifest in the world. They don’t simply influence us, they influence other people, whose actions influence the next group of people. This is exactly how the virus spreads. This virus began with a single person. Their actions have changed the world forever, because it spreads to one other person who gives it to two and those two give it to six and those six give it to twenty and now millions have it. (Could you imagine being patient zero? Holy dick balls.)

Most people understand this is how the virus spreads. And I think this is something positive we can take out of this: The virus is a tangible symbol for our actions. It allows us to fully grasp the concept of transmission, making us all responsible for it. I’m hoping we can come to a better understanding of how our actions can transmit throughout the world through this concept of a virus.

In a sense, we are the virus. Our words and our actions, everything we do and say, is transmitted to other people. If we can better understand that we have influence, we can be more careful about how we act and what we say. One of my favorite books is a very short and simple book called “The Four Agreements,” and one of the agreements is to be impeccable with your word. If we can be impeccable with putting on gloves, wearing masks, and keeping six feet, we can be impeccable with our word. And we should be.

In the modern age of the internet, many people fail to understand the influence of their words. We toss around Twitter replies and Facebook comments like candy on Halloween, rarely stopping to think about the verbal diabetes we’re dumping into the atmosphere. We sit and we wonder why things are so bad, and we look for something or someone else to blame. We fail to look within, unable to trace the vitriol, the pain and the suffering, back to the self.

If you look hard enough, it all traces back to you and to me. It’s your fault. It’s my fault. All of this, it’s all of our faults; and we need to be better.

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian from Northern California. You can follow him on instagram @jasonbrendel.

4 thoughts on “The Virus as a Symbol For Our Actions

  1. “We all have influence”(if we would all act like we knew that we have an important role on society ) I really enjoyed this writing,it was beautiful💫 💎

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