Rev. Isaías Rodríguez, the Diocese of Atlanta’s Canon for Hispanic Ministries, composed a written piece titled “El futuro de la humanidad. Una meditación sobre el coronavirus.” You can read the original Spanish version here. We translated it into English in order to share it with the rest of the Diocese.
If they awoke our ancestors from the dream of death, they would not give credence to the advanced way of our lives. Let’s not say anything about the cave creature anymore. Those poor humans had to deal with the beasts, with the inclement weather, and with the ignorance of seeing spirits and gods everywhere.
Today we’ve surpassed all that. In general, there is a great abundance of food, dress, fun, tourism, unbridled pleasure, and, unfortunately, crime. We have all kinds of sophisticated machinery and technology, and the Earth is getting smaller and smaller. We can fly. Visit the Moon and soon Mars, and we believe, in a way, that we are the owners of the universe.
But behold, something invisible appears a nano-virus (the coronavirus) and disturbs our way of life. It paralyzes humanity. It fills us with terror and forces us to shrink. The economic effects are devastating. The news informs us that there are shortages of products. All of them aimed at feeding humans and controlling hunger and malnutrition. Millions of liters of milk, tons of meat, vegetables, fruits… but, Why?
By a system perfectly organized, but that ultimately depends on the human hand, the human sweat, the human work, and that in extraordinary situations like the present time, this does not work. “We weren’t prepared” has now been repeated many times. There’s no real possible preparation for something like this. How do you prepare for an earthquake that arrives unannounced? What to do?
I am sure that pandemics like this will not have the same effects in a hundred years if this occurs again – as they say – every century has a similar experience.
Before a hundred years, the product production and distribution system will be in the hands of robots. Robots are immune to the virus. They will continue to do their work, and human beings will enjoy well-being far higher than the present time.
During that time, it might be reasonable, what some nations are already doing, that every person receives – if the person needs it – a minimum wage or minimum income free of charge from the state to live with dignity.
This is a concept that scares capitalist mindsets. They think such a solution favors inaction, corruption, vagrancy. An example of this was communism. But they forget that this way of life was based on a totalitarian system that suppressed all freedom and incentive for progress. We obviously do not accept an equal communist and community system.
Human beings cannot contain their efforts of intellectual and spiritual height. We think of an intellectually educated humanity with a universal college degree. A humanity eager to decode every mystery of life.
It seems that this is how philosophy arose in ancient Greece. The leisure of a few spurred them to question each other. To ask questions of all kinds about the origin and end of the universe, of life and of existence. And that wonderful leisure gave history the greatest geniuses of philosophy, and they expanded the margins of knowledge and living.
In the future, the human being, with excellent intellectual preparation, free from the slavery of physical work, will enjoy abundant leisure to ask, reflect, investigate, and discover. Of course, there is always a danger that knowledge will be used for both good and evil.
Let us not forget that the worst virus for humanity remains the same, human beings themselves. Suffice it to remember that in World War II, in five years, seventy-five million people, men, women, and children lost their lives. That’s fourteen million every year. Something devastating and difficult to understand.
However, I deeply believe that with an intellectual maturity there will also be another spiritual one. Despite the advances of today’s secularization, a deep desire for something much deeper increases in parallel, a desire to find what even science itself cannot give us, something spiritual that fills all our desires for happiness. These longings will lead many to be more mystical. To be more intimately united to God. There’s no doubt about this.
This pandemic has inflicted excessive suffering on all mankind. Many have given their lives as heroes, others have silently sacrificed for a better future.
That distant future will come. There’s no harm in not coming, the saying goes. Countless goods are to emerge from this dark night caused by that invisible enemy. May God give us light and patience to understand!