The Pandemic from a Meaning and Purpose Perspective

The Pandemic from a Meaning and Purpose Perspective

Now might not be the time for happiness.

But now is definitely the time for happiness … if, by happiness, we don’t just think of joy and pleasure but more so, meaning and purpose.

Check out this article by one of my favourite academics (and people), Michael Steger (one of the world’s leading experts in meaning psychology)…

via Psychology Today

“May you live in interesting times.” – English expression, erroneously attributed to a “Chinese curse”

In this time of global pandemic, it feels very much like we are living under a cloud of confusion with the rules of engagement changing too fast to make any sense. Like many of you, I am trying hard to strike the right balance of underworrying and overpreparing (or is it overworrying and underpreparing… what did that last important email tell me to do?).

There’s even uncertainty in the name of this pandemic: coronavirus/COVID-19. I’m still not sure which one I’m supposed to use. Saying “coronavirus” risks legal action from Anheuser-Busch-InBev because for some reason they don’t want their Corona beer brand associated with ending life as we know it on planet Earth. But saying COVID-19 makes me think I’m in a 1960s sci-fi novel, or possibly a late-1970s electronic music outfit.

Then comes the overwhelming volume of directives and updates. Every two hours I receive an important list of what I am supposed to stop doing. As often seems to be the case, the current pandemic response followed a predictable disaster communication progression:

  • Something scary and sad is happening, but it’s far away so we express sympathy, but life goes on
  • Some people are freaking out, but this situation is not a big deal for us
  • Stop buying all the face masks and toilet paper
  • Here’s an interesting article from economists trying to explain why people buy so much toilet paper when they get freaked out, yeah we know that economists don’t actually study human psychology, but we like to listen to them precisely when all their models stop working
  • Yes, we seem to have underestimated our exposure to all this, but we have it under control now
  • To impress you with how “on it” we are, we will temporarily change one thing that will cause you lots of inconveniences but does not seem at all related to the threat
  • There is almost no chance that we will need to implement any of this, but please start preparing for comprehensive changes to everything
  • Just a friendly reminder that we are super on top of this thing 🙂
  • Don’t panic, we mean it
  • We’re working on a plan, but it’s kind of no big whoop, life will still go on as normal, just don’t go outside maybe?
  • The Dow Jones just lost 80 million points, so make sure to support local businesses, but don’t go inside their stores 

Although my initial instinct is to make light of all this, I know that the global pandemic is a big deal. Real lives are thrown into chaos and lost, and many people are gripped by real anxiety and worries about jobs, far off family members, and access to the resources and services they need. What the world is going through now is monumental and is very likely to have lingering effects.

The intent of this article is to help anticipate how to tip the scales so that the lingering effects might be more positive than negative. Sure, what we do in the short term can help blunt the spread of the coronavirus and can dampen the worry that drenches us each night when we try to go to sleep. But what we do in the short term also can add to our lives in positive ways. We can prepare for more meaningful and purposeful lives just as much as we can prepare to ensure we all have enough food and sanitation…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE