The first sign of the recovery from the Covid19 pandemic will be getting back all the hugs, handshakes and kisses that the virus has deprived us of. Considering the severity and the scale of this global crisis, the socio-economic recovery will very likely take a long time. But although it has the unseen proportion, once again, the recovery will depend on our ability to collaborate and this requires one basic element: TRUST.
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”, Virginia Satir once said. During my systemic family therapy training and later on working with family businesses, I witnessed the importance of closeness and confidence in keeping the people together. It is crucial in the process of designing the new horizons of opportunities.
After great tragedies, we tend to seek each other for comfort and support. It’s natural. It’s part of our biology and shapes our ‘social-animal’ habitat. We have witnessed it so many times during our turbulent, cruel and violent history. But perhaps the best contemporary expression of this need comes after the terror attacks. While initially, the terrorist acts manage to impose fear and mistrust, people always come together, and, most of the times, stronger than before. Inevitably, it affects the trust and faith in the society. Particularly, where there has been the loss of the loved ones and the closeness to the tragedy. It takes time to get over the fear of strangers and unfamiliar situations but, eventually, societies come together and move on.
How are we going to be able to move on when the threat is invisible? How do we get together when everyone around us becomes one?
“If there’s one group of people who have fully understood the power of the fear instinct, it’s not journalists. It’s terrorists” wrote Hans Rosling in his highly recommended Factfulness. It seems a long time ago that the fear of terror attacks was high on our list of threats. Covid19 took over the crown and, for the time being, it has no other competitor. Even the terrorists seem to have recognized it. Compared to the same period last year, since the beginning of the Covid19 crises, there have been fewer terror attacks. To be precise, during the first three months of 2019 there have been 30 attacks, while during the same period this year there have been 23. Perhaps, statistically speaking the difference may not sound so significant, but the viciousness of the attacks gives another perspective. When the number of fatalities is taken into account, in 2020 there were 424 deaths caused by terror attacks, while the number in the same period last year was 880 mortal victims registered.
As Rosling advised, “The world seems scarier than it is because what you hear about it has been selected – by your own attention filter or by media – precisely because it’s scary.” The 52.000 death toll that Covid19 has as of today morning left is devastating and scary. But the fear is yet to play its card. The pandemic will not be defeated until we recover the hugs, handshakes, and kisses it has taken from us. Unless we are able to reprogram our attention filter to defeat the ‘fearorism’, in a way that the fear becomes a personal risk assessment and not a collective state of paranoia, Covid19 will rule on long after it’s gone.