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The Geometry of COVID-19

Updated on March 31, 2020
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When I was in high school, math was definitely not my forte, with one surprising exception—geometry. For some reason it delighted me. I remember this strong sensation of experiencing it inside me, some sort of resonance with what already resided there. It made such simple sense. The appearance of COVID-19, a short four months ago, has resurrected that feeling in me. It makes so much sense for me that this teeny little piece of protoplasm is appearing in the 21st century.

Lines and circles are the most elementary figures of geometry. A line is the locus of a point moving in a constant direction, while a circle is the locus of a point moving at a constant distance from some fixed point. Everything we construct in this world is done by drawing lines with a straight edge and circles with a compass.

When the species called man appeared on the earth, after the inanimate, vegetative and animal levels had prepared the environment for us, our development was in a straight line, moving inexorably toward survival. Early man joined with others to form tribes and clans because they understood that they could guarantee subsistence together more easily than alone. This forward progression persisted toward expansions of our relationships into towns, cities, states, nations and now the ultimate condition in which we live today—a global community. The world is now round, containing all lines, and requiring that we fully grasp the rules, if you will, for thriving within this new form.

Linear development is egoistic, always seeking to fulfill desires for basic needs, wealth, power, honor and knowledge. Such lines have extended in various directions as science, the arts, manufacturing, economies, education, law and medicine, and so on. Our linear trajectory as humans has been toward reaching a world order in which we have everything we need. This line along which we have been journeying has curved, so to speak, and now the two ends have welded themselves to each other, enclosing us in the round form of the universe. We are home again in that natural and familiar environment that feels somehow familiar. But what is this place and what are we to do here?

It is a new paradigm. All the lines we have created are no longer able to extend themselves, so are bumping up against their boundaries of the circle. Like snooker balls caroming around on a pool table, they are pinging off in all directions, unable to find a center. Ego itself, it turns out, no longer has anywhere to take us, because everything we need is already here, within this circle that is called nature. It is a place of harmony and balance, of connection and unity, of altruism and love and of interdependence. It is a system that operates out of the law of cause and consequence. It is a place where every flap of a butterfly’s wings, every drop of water plunging into a still pool, every word uttered affects every other entity that lives within.

It is a place where every intention and every action that is out of alignment with nature’s basic principles causes a disturbance in the whole. Enter COVID-19. This teeny-tiny, microscopic entity, in existence for billions of years and unable to reproduce on its own, detected a disruption and saw an opportunity to imbed itself in a human where it could create its progeny. Perhaps its motivations were entirely egoistic, wanting to reproduce others in its own image. But it turns out to be so much more.

This robust strain of coronavirus is showing us clearly what really goes on inside our circle. Within four short months it has shown us the essence of life in a global community. We’re so interconnected that the virus is spreading with lightning speed. We’re so interdependent that we can’t provide medical care for those who are sick without a world effort toward equipment. The altruism within each of us is blossoming. We’ve been forced to stay away from each other so we can understand how much we love each other. Nature’s imbalance is evident as is the separation we have created in the pre-pandemic world.

Here’s the good news. We can change our thinking from lines—egoistic, limited, no longer functional—to circles. Within the vast circle of nature we can grow smaller circles that honor and develop a new definition of wealth—connection and unity, good well toward mankind, intentions and actions only toward the common good, and all existing in that higher place from which we all come. We are, indeed, one family.

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