If We Can Learn, We Can Do Better

The world is scary right now. But it won’t stay that way. Things will get better.

The pandemic will subside. We will mourn our dead, be they many or few. We will go on.

But if we can learn, then even from tragedy, some good can come.

We’ve been given a great privilege, even though it’s not one we wanted. The pandemic has shown us our own graves, both as individuals and as societies.

It’s given us a chance to re-assess. To get our priorities straight. To take a second look at how we live:

  • Do we think that in our final moments, each of us will say “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with my family and loved ones”?
  • Do we think it’s rational to get violently angry whenever someone we don’t know says something we don’t like?
  • Do we think it’s our right to dictate to everyone else how to live? How to talk? What to believe? Are we that infallible?
  • Do we want to play politics with every single aspect of life? Can’t we just leave some things alone?
  • Do we want to define ourselves by how much we hate people who disagree with us?
  • Do we want to turn what were relatively peaceful, orderly societies into miserable, Hobbesian wars of all against all?
  • Do we want to be caught by surprise again, the next time some nasty virus jumps out of the woodwork?

We should ask ourselves those questions. The answers will shape our future.


Check out my book Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace. Kirkus Reviews called it an “impressively nuanced analysis.”

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.
This entry was posted in Jewish Philosophy, Life, Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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