With the new wave of the Delta variant of COVID-19 building in West Virginia, we need to remember our biggest strength and our most important defense.
It is our kindness.
The governor has said repeatedly that critically, we have stayed together as a state. We have pulled the rope in the same direction. We have run to the fire. Why?
Because we are a kind people and we are kind to each other.
That may seem like a little thing, but as the anthropologist Rutger Bregman points out in his book “Humankind,” humans have thrived because of our evolutionary kindness.
This viewpoint is borne out in many different ways, including the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who coined Dunbar’s number of 150. He discovered this is about the largest number of people you can know well.
Because that is about the largest number of people that can be fed and protected evolutionarily. The largest evolutionary tribe we could thrive in.
We are clearly being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with the more fit and dangerous Delta variant, we are the strongest if we keep from judging each other with fear, hate and blame, and instead illuminate each other with love and kindness.
It is the Golden Rule and sometimes it is hardest to practice when we are afraid.
Seeing each other as a reflection of our own beliefs, thoughts and emotions may give us a better reason to be kind even when we don’t agree.
As the philosopher Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
Because just like our ancestors survived by staying together, so must we.
We live in times of division, polarization and duality.
Real leadership of all of us in West Virginia is based on leaning on humility, trust, love, gratitude and releasing our resistance and fear to this time of great change.
As we said early in COVID-19, we are trying to live in better harmony with the virus — learning to dance with it.
Let’s not forget the critical importance of remembering how to love and dance with each other, too.
Stay kind, West Virginia. That is why we are Almost Heaven.