The Virus Doesn’t Get to Decide

Wash your hands. Stay at home. Practice physical isolation where ever you can. Take care to wear protection around those who might be infected.

The virus doesn’t get to decide

These are the actions we need. They are our rules to guide decision making. We follow them to protect ourselves, those we care most about and others. We make these decisions every day to protect ourselves from the virus.

The virus didn’t decide these rules. If it had emotions, it would hate them.

The virus doesn’t get to decide.

The virus doesn’t get to decide anything. It’s not even alive.

If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.

Albert Camus

Every single decision we make is ours. We will own it. That ownership will help us make better decisions. The accountability is ours because we live with the consequences. It’s our life, our family, our work, our organisations and our society.

People are starting to use ‘because the virus’ as an excuse to stop, start or continue. Like many excuses, it obscures more than it explains. We need to remember the virus decides nothing. We make the decisions and, if we outsource our decisions to a virus, we will have an issue when the epidemic ends. It will end.

There is always a philosophy for lack of courage.

Albert Camus

Whether we are going step-by-step, making a little leap or making even bolder changes, these are changes in the context of an epidemic. Some choices are closed to us. What choices remain are still choices we make. They aren’t changes for or against a virus. We have chosen them. We need to own them.

Most importantly, the rules we have chosen to fight the epidemic means some things can’t happen now. We all have losses. Some big and some heart-wrenchingly enormous. We mourn our losses, but we still choose. We still act.

Freedom is what we do with what is done to us

Jean-Paul Sartre

Life still goes on. Right now. Life goes on. We need to live every day. We still need to dream, realise our dreams and our potential. We need to live today even in the midst of a viral epidemic. We live, not for our work, our family or others, but because we live today. It’s our life and the rest of it starts now.

‘O look, look in the mirror,

O look in your distress:

Life remains a blessing

Although you cannot bless.

WH Auden from ‘As I Walked Out One Evening

We need to decide and to act today. We need to hold ourselves accountable to do the best we can to with our circumstances, our potential and our goals. We need to manage our responsibilities to family, work and community but we need to recognise that those responsibilities are decisions too. They can change when we change our circumstances and our actions.

This post is not a call for individualism. We’ve seen enough of that reckless behaviour in this crisis. We need collaboration, but we mustn’t confuse collaboration with consensus or concession to others. If our actions and our lives are to be sustainable we must live for both ourselves and others. We will always care for others that’s big part of humanity, but we can’t only live for others.

We dream. We decide. We act. Our time starts now.

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