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How much longer, God, how much longer?

Years ago, when my children were young, we went with the family on a trip to the mountains. On the way there, my children frequently repeated a single question: How much longer before we get there? And at the end of the day, on the way home, they again repeated the same question. It is the question we ask ourselves during this pandemic: How much longer?

In ancient times, in times of crisis, the prophets and believers raised their hands, their eyes and their voices to heaven and exclaimed “How long, God?”, requesting the intervention of the divinity to end a crisis that would otherwise end with the people afflicted by that crisis.

In the 21st century we no longer implore to the divinity nor seek his/her intervention. And not because, as Nietzsche said, God is dead and we have killed him, but because we no longer even care if God is dead or alive, or if he/she ever existed. In fact, in the middle of this crisis, we have gone from "How much longer, God?" to "Who cares?"

Although we no longer seek God (in fact, we no longer even bother him/her to find out if he/she really said what we say he/she said), we find other quasi-supreme entities, such as government and science, We beg them to speed up the process of getting us out of this crisis. And if they don't, then we no longer "believe" in them.

We are like children in the back seat of the car: we are part of the trip, but we don’t drive the vehicle, we don’t know the route, we don’t know how long the trip will be, and we have no idea where we are going. Even worse, the "drivers" (the government, science) are almost helpless in their task of getting us on the road and cannot even offer moderately coherent answers.

Arguably, we are treated like children in the car: they give us evasive responses to calm us down, but those responses can only be used a few times before they get "worn out" and become unacceptable. To be more direct, they become lies (perhaps they were).

Unlike a trip to the mountains, in this crisis there is no “going back”. We can’t go back to “normal”. Something definitely changed forever.

Although everything looks the same (the parks, the restaurants, the gym, the schools), nothing feels the same. An invisible and evil entity stalks us and, contrary to what happened in ancient times, we no longer have a divinity to question, or rituals or amulets that protect us. In the meantime, we don’t know where we are going or how long the trip will be.

Perhaps this is why this is an excellent time to return to the stoicism of antiquity, a philosophy that (although many people don’t know it) serves as the foundation of both Christianity and modern psychology. Perhaps this is the time to simply go, without asking how much longer or where we are going.

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