By Haim Shore
Jewish biblical prophets continuously relate to the era of free-will as temporary, not everlasting. I have referred to it previously and provided quotes form the Bible (for example, here and here).
Two major conclusions of these sources (and others) are these:
Free-will is temporary;
You cannot have free-will coupled with the certainty that God exists. The latter, by definition, deprives you of absolute free-will.
A poor analogy (yet herewith pursued) is when one wishes to commit an offence against state law, knowing the police is all around. This knowledge deprives you of absolute free will. There are limitations imposed by the ruler of the environment where you exist. Visible presence of the keepers of the law limits free-will. And a limited free-will, logically and by definition, is no free-will.
What is the most outstanding outcome of the pandemic (apart from threat to one’s own existence)?
Fellow human beings no longer represent a focus of desire that one wishes to draw close to (whether for favorable, moral, intentions or otherwise). Rather, your fellow human beings pose a threat, a trigger for a fright and then flight (“Social Distancing”).
What does that imply?
We are forced to be on our own — alone with our own tribe (cessation of international traffic), alone with our own family (when state lockdown is imposed), or not-alone with our own self (when individual isolation is imposed). We are then forced to learn our own nature — exercising introspection, learning who we really are, who our family are, what keeps our tribe together.
There is another aspect to how the pandemic forces us to limit our absolute free-will. We no longer have the absolute freedom to “Escape from Freedom” (to borrow a term from Erich Fromm’s book of same title). No longer can we rely on society to think for us (via mass communication channels), making decisions for us, choose for us. Barring absorption in society via “social distancing”, escape from freedom becomes harder to pursue.
A plague in biblical Hebrew is Dever, from the root “to speak”; Not much different from Davar or Diber (the biblical Hebrew singular for The Ten Commandments, Dvarim or Dibrot, respectively; find details in another post on this blog).
If we consider the plague, this lesson in modesty for humankind, as:
A Divine signal to prepare for things to come;
A Divine signal to be on our own, stop being confused by the society around us, concentrate on our own very “Life Condition”;
If we consider the plague that way, does current pandemic imply that in the near future a catatonic change in our perception of reality is about to happen?
(“For then I will convert to peoples a purified language; that they all call upon the name Jehovah to serve Him shoulder to shoulder”; Zephaniah 3:9)