Philosophy Friday: What’s Bad For The Hive
Preliminary signs are positive—COVID-19 appears to be in global retreat. We followed government guidelines and medical advice. In some countries, social distancing efforts, voluntary lockdowns, and closed borders have reduced disease transmission to a trickle. Even in places where political leaders sent mixed messages, the pandemic is slowing down – presumably due to people’s self-isolation efforts and the arrival of a viable vaccine.
It appears that if we haven’t won the fight yet, then at least humanity is gaining the upper hand. Unfortunately, our struggle isn’t over. We might be in for a surprise comeback by an exceptionally infectious version of the virus.
As people get restless with incessant lockdowns, nations start relaxing quarantine measures, and broader outbreaks could again occur. These might rapidly spread over more extensive areas. Millions more may yet die from the pandemic.
“That which is bad for the hive is bad for the bee.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and Philosopher
Marcus Aurelius’s pithy adage succinctly expresses the sentiment that a negative impact suffered by our community is also detrimental to us. If the collective is sick, then that isn’t good for the individual. If the group is suffering economically, then so are we. The ancient philosophers knew that everything is connected – it’s not a modern idea.
Now that the rules of self-isolation are relaxing, we need to be particularly vigilant. What if we’re not careful? What if we break the rules just a little bit? We’ve already won, haven’t we?
If through negligent action, we contract COVID, then personally, that may not be such a big deal. The overwhelming chances are that we will be fine.
But it’s not about us. It’s about more than us. In the end, lockdown rules and social distancing are about the vulnerable in our society – the weak and elderly. They’re the ones dying from COVID-19. We’re taking the social distancing and economic impact on behalf of them.
If we’re now going out partying with friends and then contract and spread the disease, we are running roughshod over our community. And that isn’t good for us, the individual bees, either. Imagine we found out that through a negligent act on our part, we had unknowingly contracted the virus, spread it, and someone had died because of us. That would be a personal shame that would be hard to live down. Let’s not go there. Let’s be careful and keep following the regulations and guidelines.
Let’s be kind to our community and remember that we are a part of it.
After all, what’s bad for the hive is also bad for the bee.