Virus as Messenger
I've been revisiting my own personal study of what viruses are - reading through scientific articles and so on, and most experts still don't really know. But we do know that 8% of our own DNA is of viral origin, but apparently non-functional. And numerous biologists believe that placental mammals can trace our origin back to viruses that most likely mediated the shift from Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes 2 billion years ago and heralded in the age of Nuclei and organelles that made it possible for multicellular life. Viruses are incredibly tiny and simple: many contain as few as two to ten genes, compared to the 20,000 genes in each cell of a person.
The emergent theory is that they lie somewhere between alive and non-living. The "Virus as Messenger" exosome theory has more and more backers the more we come to understand their role and function within the web of evolution. This great talk with Anthroposophical doctor, Tom Cowan explains it fairly well but I will summarize it here: Viruses are small packets of DNA (or sometimes RNA) encapsulated by a membrane that are exudates of poisoned cells sent to communicate the trouble to other cells in the same body, or another organism of the same species to warn it of impending trouble, hence they appear to be infectious, but that is an inaccurate term to use.
I encourage us each to learn more so that you can be well informed about this entirely unprecedented moment in human history. And remember - life is incredibly complex and if anyone purports to have it figured out, they probably don't, especially if they are a politician, a banker, or a reporter. Clearly the COVID-19 virus has a message for humanity - I hope we are listening.
On a deeper level, I feel that the current COVID-19 virus is a messenger encouraging us to ponder more deeply how the health of our planet is a reflection of the health of humanity. The two are inherently one and the same. While it is tragic that so many people are suffering and/or afraid of the virus, the massive global slow down in commerce and business is usual is gracing us with the silver lining of clear skies over major cities that are normally polluted. The juggernaut of industrial civilization has an amazing resilience to keep barreling along, regardless of how many people live in poverty, children that go hungry, species that go extinct, or ecosystems devastated. Many people have known that humanity has to somehow change its ways in order to stave off handing a very damaged planet to our offspring and younger generations, yet somehow individually we feel disempowered to do so. So may we all perceive the incredible opportunity to remake the world amidst this crisis. The chance to pivot on a global level away from the disturbing trend of increasing consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of a few (6 people control HALF the wealth on the planet), towards decentralized economies, rekindling a renaissance of entrepreneurial creativity on a bioregional scale. Perhaps we've become too mobile - all this moving of goods and people and species around is stirring the pot too quickly and unintended consequences occur such as novel viruses, exotic species that become invasive and so on?
People staying home is also helping us all to recognize who is important to us as family, neighbors, and community. Perhaps we can use this planetary pause for reevaluating what is our life purpose, what is our gift to share with the world? I know for myself I have been looking inwards upon contemplating the suffering of others and asking, "how may I be of service?".
I am optimistic for what a new decentralized economy & society looks like. Can we integrate barter and tithing and move away from centralized government and banking? What would actual community banks that encourage bioregional production of our basic needs and facilitated capital to do so look like? I firmly believe that a "when will life return to normal" attitude is missing the opportunity of our lifetimes to end the tragic legacy of centuries of resource extraction capitalism that includes in its wake genocide, slavery, misogyny, and the destruction of biodiversity. For the sake of all living beings, we can heed the call of this unprecedented moment of the global consciousness of all of humanity synchronizing together. The virus is a messenger bringing us all to the question of staying in fear and paralysis or awakening to an awareness of your own purpose for being alive and contributing to making it reality.
For myself, I will continue to raise my teenage sons, grow gardens, gather seeds, tend perennials for future generations and share seeds and how to grow them successfully. This moment is asking me to share more, consider who around me would benefit from my help and service and slow down to make time and space for this. What are you being called to do? What messages are you receiving in this unique Planetary Pause? May we seize this moment and transform society for the benefit of all beings and those to come after us.
All blessings to each of you and your families.
Grow a garden, spend time outside in nature, drink clean water, learn your medicinal plants.