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Has Quarantine made us fish in an aquarium?

Aktualisiert: 4. Mai 2020

Quarantine, Lockdown, or Shutdown. For the past three months, we have been hearing these phrases a lot. The borders are closed, the travel is banned and our whole movement has been curbed to four walls of our house – very similar to fish in an aquarium or animals at the zoo but with a little bonus of privacy. In an endeavor to fight an unseen enemy, we have pledged to sacrifice our freedom. By isolating ourselves, we stood together in solidarity. We accepted the initial phase of quarantine and social distancing with good spirits. However, the zing soon wore off. Why? Because, we are social animals. We are hardwired to be social, interactive, and be part of a community. We love routine and certainty, or at least our brains do. Biologically, we are programmed to build rigid patterns to make our decision-making process simpler and quicker. Even world leaders who are praised for their courage to take up risks are usually stickler to routines. So, it is no wonder that our aunt angst sprang to action after a few days into an astronomical change. We are basically averse to change because our mind craves certainty. Behavioral science indicates that our brain exhibits fight or flight response when we are pulled out of a pattern because it reads it as a bug in the program. But is our situation truly similar to fish in an aquarium? Maybe and maybe not. You were in a similar situation before as well but you were too busy to notice it. We are all prisoners of our behaviors. Prior to pandemic, we were stuck in a routine that restrained us just like any wall or a border. We fear to change; we don't skip a bit out of our routine fearing about consequences. Now you tell me how different was it from living in an Aquarium? The only difference is that our aquarium is made of fear instead of glass. I agree that this new mode of living made us inaccessible like never before. Yet, it opened up an array of other constructive opportunities. Although our movements are limited, we still are allowed to talk to our family, friends, and do our job as usual (maybe not as usual) via online. Physical closures can be a critical predicament but in the current age of disruptive technology, their influence is relatively narrow. On the contrary, the quarantine set us free from the prison of routine. The fear of disease jolted us back to our priorities - family, health and most importantly, self-discovery. Staying at home and spending time with our family is making us more empathetic towards our immediate family. As parents, now we are sharing our responsibilities more equally than before. As partners, the relationship only has gotten more transparent and open. Years from now, when children are adults, they do not remember the plight of the nations or the recession but what they fondly recollect are the memories of warm unconditional love, joyful games, amusing at-home schooling and the foundations of strong connections. People have started to reflect on their priorities and choices over a range of variables such as art and spirituality. To a shocking degree, the quarantine period for many of us ignited our innermost creative capacity. Many enthusiasts are pursuing different art forms to get through these tiring times, be it painting, music, or design. Who knows? Perhaps a William Shakespeare or a Van Gogh is just in waiting to be unleashed.

For the foreseeable future, the threat of epidemic will last and in all likelihood our present situation will also last to turn into a routine. That’s the paradox of change. It is true that this extraordinary situation has marred the world's economy and most significantly the lives of billions. Still, let us pause for a moment and appreciate our endurance. A change ransacked our lives, future, and beliefs yet, we prevailed. We prevailed because we acted in unity and humanely. Do you still think that we have become the fish in the aquarium? Rather I would say quarantine has made us more liberated and unfettered than ever.

By Swetha Anusha:

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