The current pandemic has shown us the truth of the modern battlefield, nothing could have painted the picture more clearly. The doctors, nurses, paramedics, and researchers are our first, and frankly only, line of defense against the onslaught of our “enemies.” Viruses, superbugs, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been on a steady rampage across the world, and COVID-19 still caught us entirely by surprise. We should have seen it coming, many did, but we, as a people, did not. We are currently at war, at war with an enemy who has no body, it uses our bodies against us. How insidious a plan of attack, an ethereal enemy- our worst nightmare.
Throughout history, there have been tacticians that studied the art of war, not unnotably the man who penned the book of the same name Sun Tzu. A theme that each and every one of them spoke of was the need for preparedness.
“He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.” - Sun Tzu
We were not prepared. We are still not fully prepared, that is impossible. Now we need to listen to all the advice out there about how to survive and win a war. Even if this enemy is the enemy of germs, it will still be a significant boon for us to listen to the wisdom of our ancestors at a time of such upheaval and turmoil. We have already started to listen to some of this advice just be instinct.
"The good warriors of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, only then waited for an opportunity to defeat the enemy." - Sun Tzu
Thankfully many places have already begun this process; we are quarantining, locking down, physically distancing from one another. When our enemy literally uses our bodies against us, when we take away that tool, we are creating the ability to put ourselves beyond the possibility of defeat. As we flatten this curve, we gain invaluable time as each individual who has been exposed acquires immunity for the immediate future. We are building up a defense, we are slowly putting ourselves beyond the possibility of defeat. This will not be possible if we do not unite if we do not work together in alignment and solidarity.
“He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.” - Sun Tzu
By supporting and empowering one another, by embodying the spirit of unity, we can and will stop this virus. The inherent truth of this spirit shouldn’t be hard to find in a time like this, when we all have a shared experience of fear, of isolation and distance. We are all humans, we are all vulnerable, and we all fear for our loved ones. Let us animate in the spirit of the tribe, a tribe of all humanity, and use our differences advantage, and create a defense that brings us beyond the possibility of defeat.
“Knowing the enemy enables you to take the offensive, knowing yourself enables you to stand on the defensive... Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack.” - Chang Yu
All this defense to bring ourselves past the possibility of defeat would be entirely wasted if that’s all we did during this time. While we are unifying and aligning and working together to become one, we need to devise a plan of attack. This attack is impossible if our enemy is us, our bodies, and has no shape of its own. We have many weapons to fight this virus, we just have no target. The FightToEndCovid initiative offers us a method for outlining that target. We can do this by offering up what makes us unique and individual, we can describe how COVID has impacted each of us, what it hooks on to truly hurt someone. Once that outline begins to become bright, we could start to attack COVID in earnest, especially once we have passed the point where it could defeat us this time around.
"A man may fight well armoured, with knowledge of the art, and have all advantages possible, but if he lacks courage,
he may as well just go ahead and hang himself. " -Fiore Dei Liberi
All of this takes courage, real audacity, to believe we can work together, to believe we can stop this in its tracks, and to think we have the power to truly fight back. But if we have that courage, we can support the people on our frontline in a way that makes a real difference in their lives. One less hospital bed has to be taken, one less doctor, nurse, and paramedic exposed and overburdened for each one of that that stands up. And if we drive forward in that courage and offer up our experiences, the scientists working tirelessly to protect us will be bolstered up by the multitudes who can carry the world.
This moment shows us our connection, our oneness. To risk going too cheesy, virus contains both I and US.
The Spreading of Red
We do not see our own blood unless we bleed
Our veins, those little highways that carry our life
Are invisible to us without harm
The virus shows this is true for the world
Maps of community spread, of caseload
Tell us the surprising truth of our lives
We are not separate, you, me, and we
Our planes, those little highways that carry our life
Are not visible pathways in the sky
But hidden connectors, reaching so wide
Red bubbles expand on maps made of black
No better reminder that we are as
Welcome to the new version of the world
March 25th, 2020 - Ian Terry