About 40 minutes into a virtual event with Dr. Anthony Fauci, a fire alarm went off at his office. It was likely a drill, but the real deal, complete with flashing lights and a blaring, robotic voice over a loudspeaker. It was like something out of a sit-com (think Space Force on Netflix).
We’re all operating in this virtual world together. On the one hand, a San Francisco-based organization like the Commonwealth Club can feature a national figure working on the other coast. On the other hand, if Fauci has to excuse himself to put out a fire, we’re a part of that. (Oh wait, he wasn’t actually putting out the fire. I just assumed, because, you know…)
We all share an intimate connection at a time when we often feel disconnected from other humans roaming the planet. While we can’t reach out and touch someone through a screen or phone line, we are sharing an experience, we are present with each other, we are paying attention, and, we are patiently adjusting as needed to make room for each other.
We may be doing all this more than we were while ambling through bustling shopping plazas, running through busy airports, or distractedly conversing at events and parties.
If a collective takeaway from this season can be an enhanced and nuanced understanding of true connection, we will emerge as improved individuals, a stronger community and a better society.
That’s what they call alchemy.