Living Through Life’s Questions…

“It is not the strongest species that survives, it is the most adaptable”.  I’ve been thinking about this quote a bit lately for multiple reasons. The first, of course, is the fact that much of the world has been plunged into battle with an insidious virus. We have been called upon to be adaptable and to change our way of life greatly to minimize the spread of Covid 19.  It is our duty to each other to change our habits to keep the most vulnerable of our population safe and to minimize the burden on our healthcare system. If you stop and think about it, it’s really quite incredible how different life is right now versus just a month ago. The strength of the human species is not it’s physical strength; rather, it is our ability to band together and thrive in almost any environment.  

The second reason that I’ve been thinking of this quote is that it is often attributed to Charles Darwin and he didn’t actually write or say it.  It’s a simplification of Leon C. Megginson’s description of his interpretation of the main theme of Darwin’s classic, Origin of Species.  I find this interesting because it is a great example of how information gets altered as it changes hands.  It’s kind of like that telephone game that Mandt trainers will sometimes play when teaching communication. The message can get diluted and changed.  This is especially important to remember during times of crisis. Fear can powerfully alter communication as it travels from one person to the next.  Combine this with the mass communication capabilities of our modern times and you have a perfect environment for the growth and spread of misinformation.  Information literacy and critical thinking skills are now more important than ever. It is vital for us to make sure that we are getting our information from credible sources. 

I have no doubts that this pandemic will lead to tremendous loss of life.  There will be long lasting economic and cultural implications. We will all be profoundly impacted.  Viktor Frankl once said, “Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible”.  We are right now being questioned by life and we are challenged to respond by being responsible to each other. Viktor Frankl also once said, “Live as though you are living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time”.  Most of us will make it through this pandemic. It will be as though we are living a second time. What will we learn from this pandemic? How will we use that information to improve our world?   

John Windsor – Mandt Faculty

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