Those who know themselves to be part of a story bigger than their biography more willingly risk life for its sake.

The best example of that is simply the love story. To love is to include others in the circle of self. It is to expand beyond one’s individuality. Your pain and your joy are inseparable from your beloveds.

Of course, we still want to stay alive, but for the lover, it is not the absolute highest priority.

That is why I have long warned the environmental movement away from the rhetoric of “We must change our ways, or we will not survive.”

The real solution is to fall back in love with the living world, to see it as a beloved, not as a collection of resources, a waste dump, or an engineering project.

Then we will not only survive; we will flourish, as one does when they are partnered with their lover.

Safety mania and death phobia are signs of disconnection from purpose and passion. If you have nothing more important than your own life, then preserving life is left as the only purpose.

Because our civilizational answer to “Why are we here?” has unraveled, many of us individually have trouble answering that question too, for the individual story draws from the collective.

OK, I realize I may have risen to too high an altitude for the practical purpose of preventing the next bout of pandemania.

So I will end with this: We can reduce our general susceptibility to fear-mongering by reducing the levels of fear current in society.

A society ridden with fear will acquiesce to any policy that promises safety. How do we reduce ambient levels of fear?

There is no single answer. Besides, each one of us already knows how.

Originally published on Charles Eisenstein’s Substack page.