MID May Newsletter

“There’s been a quantum leap technologically in our age, but unless there's another quantum leap in human relations, unless we learn to live in a new way towards one another, there will be a catastrophe.”
– Albert Einstein

Over the past three weeks of extended lockdown and moving into Level 4, the board and I have noticed a palpable increase of tension and conflict, and with it a decrease in the standard of human relations – throughout South Africa and across the wider world. In our small community, this is manifesting in growing antagonism between local law enforcement and the SAPS, people bickering on social media platforms about the “surfers protest”, the rise of pro- and anti-lockdown factions with ensuing arguments (often in the form of vicious, personal attacks), and neighbours “informing” on neighbours, causing damage to the invaluable sense of community that we all cherish.

It’s clear we’ve reached a point in lockdown where tensions are high, discontent is rife and tempers are flaring. It’s understandable, considering the circumstances, but it does not have to be an inevitable stage of this process. Times are going to get tougher and our only hope of getting through this is to take that quantum leap in human relations Einstein talks about. Now is the time for us to show respect towards each other – even when we don’t agree – and to continue supporting each other, especially the most vulnerable in our community.

Debate is good, standing up for our rights is necessary, but so too is exercising our responsibilities, which includes actions for the greater good of the broader community, whether that’s wearing a mask in public at all times or not wasting communal policing resources by trying to claim special rights for yourself alone. I’m a grumpy sceptic by nature, but even I believe that this crisis is an opportunity to change much that’s wrong with the world. Let’s please start with improving the way this community interacts with each other.

Peter Corbett