There is no shortage of commentary and thought on the impact of the pandemic and the extraordinary events over the last year on public health, the workplace, education, social justice, the economy, and the environment.  As I engage with professional journals, media and talk to leaders of organizations, family, friends, and colleagues, there is broad agreement that our world has shifted.  The question is, do we try to re-assert what was normal for us, or do we seize on the opportunities the new world presents?

Acclaimed writer and activist Arundhati Roy challenges us to imagine another world, a better one, not a new normal in her essay, “The Pandemic is a Portal” from her book, Azadi:  Freedom. Fascism. Fiction:

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. 

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks, and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

This new world demands humility, adaptability, flexibility, and compassion, and the vulnerability to ask questions when we don’t understand – conversation and action instead of rhetoric.

Enjoy this animated narration of Roy’s essay.