A Jedi’s Responsibility is to Flatten the Curve
We are living in unprecedented times. As I am writing this, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Some parts of the world are seeing thousands of deaths as this virus spreads throughout our communities. Some places are not there yet, and to keep us from being there, we need to flatten the curve. We do this by minimizing contact with other people, staying home if possible, and if we must leave, keeping a social distance of six feet or two meters, and wash our hands often for 20 seconds (Jedi tip: recite the Jedi Code twice!) and disinfect often touched surfaces (don’t forget your phone).
As a Jedi, we want to help. It is easy to feel that truly helping is an active process. It must be doing something. We want to be heroic and do great deeds, maybe even save lives. The compulsion to help actively is strong, and stronger still in such a time of anxiety. But If you want to do something truly heroic, you must stay at home, you must keep social distance. By doing so, you can be saving lives.
Having to shelter in place is a particular challenge for Jedi: that being choosing not to act. The discomfort and anxiety that comes from trying to reconcile that the best thing to do is to do nothing can lead some to make incorrect or less safe choices. The drive to do something active to help is a strong one for many Jedi, but we can take this time as a training opportunity to work on being passive and at peace. Sheltering in place then becomes a meditative act. The work we can do with this meditative practice is to sit and process the very real anxiety caused by this pandemic and our place in it. Not only are we doing the work on ourselves as Jedi, but by staying at home we are indeed contributing to the health and safety not only of ourselves but of the most vulnerable in our community, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying health issues.
Even if you feel you are healthy, and that you have a good chance at surviving infection from Covid-19, it is selfish to think only of yourself. As Jedi of quality, we are called to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, we are called to the principles of compassion and selflessness. Staying at home and keeping social distance in order to flatten the curve is protecting those that are most vulnerable. But make no mistake even people who have no underlying health conditions or who are young are still dying from this virus, and every time you have unnecessary contact with other people during this pandemic not only are you risking your own life but the lives of the most vulnerable in your community
The isolation is difficult. Socializing, touch, variety in your life—all of these are real and valuable human needs that will be harder to find during this time for some of us. But Jedi of quality do not shirk difficult tasks, we run towards them. We understand that easy efforts yield small rewards, and it is the difficult things that are most worth doing. Right now, many people are defying stay-at-home orders, after a week of isolation wanting to hang out with friends. But in so doing can drastically spread this virus, creating more cases, putting more burden on our healthcare system which in many places is already becoming overwhelmed. It is this overwhelming of medical resources that is the reason why it is so important to do our part to flatten the curve. As there is more community spread of this virus, it will result in people having to isolate and quarantine even longer than if people were doing the compassionate, selfless, heroic action just staying at home.
This virus has put in sharp relief that we have to be in this together—though together while we are apart. By doing the work to flatten the curve we are supporting our community, we are protecting the most vulnerable among us, and we are comporting ourselves the way a Jedi of quality should. At this moment more than any other in our lifetimes, we need to step up and do the right thing, by choosing not to step outside, to not be the obvious, active “hero”. We no longer can afford the type of illusion that our actions do not affect others, and we must examine our role during this pandemic. How do you want to be remembered during this time? For those of us that survive, (and many will not, many already have not) we will have participated in world-changing historical event and we will have our stories of what we did during the pandemic. Will you years from now be able to tell others you did the compassionate thing and possibly saved lives doing so, or will you have to live with the knowledge that you could have done more by choosing to keep your distance? The choice is up to you, Jedi.