This article appeared in the May 21, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A pandemic prescription: humility

Tony Gutierrez/AP
Friends and families sit in their cars, drive-in style, in the infield watching the Ponder High School graduation ceremony as it is broadcast live on the large television screen at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Texas Motor Speedway is hosting 30 socially distanced high school graduation ceremonies over the next few weeks. The first two were Monday night. Students receive their diplomas on the front stretch of the track with family and friends in their cars parked on the infield watching the ceremony on the track's massive "Big Hoss" TV screen.

“Even the very wise cannot see all ends,” Gandalf told Frodo in “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

At this moment, the tendency to predict the future can be overwhelming. News is dominated by questions of when the pandemic will end, what course it will take, and what it will change. We hear the world will never be the same again – from energy use to office spaces to education.

Undoubtedly there will be change, but in his article, “I Predict Your Predictions Are Wrong,” the Atlantic’s Yascha Mounk notes how resilient humanity is. Change is a powerful force, but so is continuity. And when it comes to predicting the path of the coronavirus, The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof notes that “nonexperts are supremely confident in their predictions, while epidemiologists keep telling me that they don’t really know much at all.”

The point is not to alarm. But as Mr. Kristof says, it is to start with humility. Each moment presents an opportunity to put aside fears and be guided by reason, wisdom, and humanity. That brings its own kind of certainty. “Humanity will survive this pandemic,” writes Mr. Mounk. “In its aftermath, as after so many other disasters, we will learn to thrive anew.”

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This article appeared in the May 21, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/21 edition
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