[Science Solitaire] Quarantine passions
What were you before quarantine? Not just what your job was or what you did everyday but what made you feel really alive? How did the pandemic affect who you are at your core?
Even at our core, we are not one-dimensional. We have many passions – those that connect us to that invisible vibrating string that resonates with not just what being alive feels but what it means. If your job before the pandemic connected you with your passions, is it still doing that now for you? If you lost your job because of the pandemic, did you lose your passion too? (READ: Coronavirus crisis 'devastating' jobs, output – ILO)
In quarantine for prolonged periods of time, we now know that we can discover new passions, sometimes even throwing away the old ones, or adapt old ones to this new situation. Without these passions, quarantine will just be life in suspended animation. You cannot recover that time just because you did not live it as best as you could. Time does not recognize IOU notes from anyone. You may even break free from the definitions that your job imposed on you, now that you are in quarantine.
Quarantine is also a good time as any to bust the myth for yourself that our brains are not divided into right (creative/artistic) and left (logical/scientific). You have BOTH and you need BOTH all the time. No act is pure in terms of isolating it in each side of our brain. Any act requires the brain to connect with many regions located in the right or left hemispheres. There are many studies that give you incontrovertible evidence of this. The most recent one is a study revealed that professional jazz musicians rely heavily on their left brain (while still using their right) while amateurs rely more on their right. If you were once a “believer” that music was for right-brainers, think again.
There is NO human passion that relies ONLY on one side of the brain. Even if you say that the right or left is dominant in specific passions, removing their connections with the other side of the brain could alter the over-all experience/expression/perception of that passion. To reduce any of your passion to only one side of your brain grossly understates your human capacity. So yes, whether you once thought yourself as right or left-brained, it is time to realize that you approach everything with a full brain and quarantine passions are no exceptions.
For those who may need a little bid of nudging, I suggest you do a mindmap of your quarantine time and fill them out with the passions you have or want to explore. I am not talking about a “to-do” list but a creative visualization of your time while in quarantine but personalized timetables of your own history-in-the-making in these extraordinary times.
What inspired this suggestion are the maps of time that a pioneering educator named Emma Willard (1787–1870) did when she was frustrated with the way that history was taught. I loved the way she made a tree with branches to illustrate how events point the tree in different directions. I also liked the way she illustrated what kind of people hold up a society in the form of a temple with pillars. The timetables are also a wonderful way of showing how many passions within you or from other people happen in parallel and can affect one another in gorgeous ways.
For your personal quarantine time tree, what branches did you grow inside yourself that are now pointing you to new directions without necessarily abandoning our old one? Are you a surgeon who has now taken to observing insects closely in your garden to photograph them while they are in their most “intimate” acts? Are you a media expert who has founded her own online series that features her own curation of features that can help us cope in these times? Are you a self-declared geek who has suddenly found tango or the swing as redemptive?
And broadly, if you were to look at Philippine society now as it struggles through the pandemic, what kind of passions are we mainly reliant on? Surely the foundations of our “temple of society” now are the health workers and the other frontline workers. What passions strengthen the temple of our survival and what passions weaken it?
I also think the arts is one of the pillars since the arts have kept our spirits buoyant amid the fear of sinking in this pandemic. In your household, what does your “temple” look like? What are the passions that keep it afloat and alive during these times?
These are very extraordinary times and any passion that will arise out of them should match it. While we are all mostly cocooned, we could start designing and living what “new-ish” creature we will be. It could make for an even better normal. We'll see. – Rappler.com