Fear is a common response to upheavals in the world. The emotional response to fear is often increased conservative baselines: people begin to think only of themselves and the people they immediately consider to be family (whether chosen or blood).
This kind of factionalism is expected and has been demonstrated in many psychological and sociological studies about fear. Yet, there are also those who seemingly have a divergence, an ability to defy this assumption that life is a zero-sum game even within crises situations.
Mr. Rogers is famous for talking about looking for the helpers in a crisis, and these helpers are exactly the kinds of people who defy the self-serving baselines of hoarding resources for one’s self.
In a time where shows like “Preppers” highlight people hoarding years worth of resources, the people who are truly prepping for bad times are the ones who are building community. They are the ones who are planting community gardens, repairing houses for their neighbors, taking care of the poor and marginalized people in their communities. These are the people who are truly prepping for bad times because people have always been a communal species.
Regardless of your political alignment, there is the truth that no human is an island: We need one another. We need the skills, thoughts, labor, and resources of other people to survive. It is the backbone of what makes us human.
In a time that is increasingly uncertain, it takes a lot to fight off the urges to only care about yourself or only care about your own family. It takes effort to not default to fear-reactions that act as if resources are scarce and worth fighting over.
But, if we learn anything from this crisis, it should be from the helpers we see all around us. The helpers are the ones making sure that people are getting better. The helpers are the ones making sure everyone has enough to eat. The helpers are the ones risking themselves to make sure that we all come out of this as best as we can.
In a world where we idolize movie stars and sports players, perhaps this crisis has something to teach us about what humanity really needs to aspire to. Perhaps, we can begin to see the ways in which we all need one another and the ways in which we can move forward together as helpers building a society rather than hoarders building a tower of fear and isolation.