“Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation–
our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance. “

Daniel Kahneman


The past few weeks have really shaken our sense that our world rests on a secure foundation. And that realization makes us increasingly uncomfortable. Like most people, I haven’t truly been aware of how interconnected we are. Oh, I occasionally have those moments of awe and awareness that everything is connected, but on a daily basis, I’m not conscious of my dependence on others for my very survival. We’re all learning a very hard lesson as the store shelves empty of hand sanitizers and toilet paper. It’s not enough to protect our own. We can hunker down in survivalist mode for a while (and some people have been planning for the end of the world their whole lives), but for most of us, we need each other. And we need to take others into consideration. We need to think of our most vulnerable members; it’s not enough to take needless risks just because we’re young and healthy.

We also need to think beyond our borders. COVID-19 does not care where we are from; it does not respect borders, and to think we can put America First without caring for our international neighbors demonstrates “our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.” So many of our citizens have no safety net. They have no health insurance; they have no paid leave; if they don’t go to work, their children don’t eat. And these people wait on the rest of us every day. Rugged individualism carries us only so far in today’s interconnected world. As the old song says, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Social media abounds with ideas to help each other right now, many of them within easy reach. Below are some that caught my attention.

In Maine, one young mother of two posted this thoughtful offer: “If the school closures have you concerned about your child not being able to eat breakfast or lunch PLEASE let me know. I will do what I can to help. Feel free to PM – no judgement ever!!! & it’ll be our secret!  It takes a village.” 

Similar offers are cropping up everywhere about safe ways to help kids in need, checking in on elderly neighbors (even if just through a partially open door or window), offering to (safely) care for pets, etc. Still others recommend contacting your local food bank to see what they need in the way of food or, more likely, in the way of financial donations. Others suggest supporting local businesses, such as buying restaurant gift certificates and ordering carry out (and ideally sharing it with a needy neighbor.)

If helping on a more national or global scale appeals to you, Charity Navigator, which identifies and rates legitimate, well run charities, has a list of organizations that need donations to help with the Covid-19 crisis.

What thoughts do you have on helping each other?