EDUC 575 | By Eden Teichman
I know you must be tired. The whole world is tired. After months stuck in Quarantine, it feels as though not only the health of humans is being threatened but so is the morality of humankind. Throughout this pandemic, America has woken up to the injustices that have plagued this country, as the Black Lives Matter Movement is bigger than ever, the current election forces citizens to confront oppressive power structures, and the handling of COVID-19 has proved to us that marginalized communities do not matter to America. But, while being stuck at home with such negative realizations might feel like a curse, what if I told you that by collectively waking humanity up to the flawed systems of this world, Coronavirus has actually blessed us with the potential for universal liberation from oppressive systems. That especially as members of the Latinx community, this pandemic might actually be the very source that liberates you, and all other marginalized peoples, from the oppressive nature of societal norms.
According to Bobbie Harro, humans are stuck inside an oppressive cycle of socialization, in which we allow hierarchical social categorizations to determine the social roles we play in society, and the roles we prescribe on others. However, by entering a cycle of liberation, Harro believes that humans can help free one another from the oppressive nature of socialization. Harro defines the first step of liberation as “waking up” to the reality of oppression within America. While some individuals gradually wake up, many people wake up through a specific experience of cognitive dissonance (Harro 619). Therefore, as COVID-19 is changing the social behaviors of individuals all around the world, COVID-19 pressures humans to question their roles in society, which wakes individuals up to the social scripts they have followed blindly throughout their lives. Simultaneously, as humans are beginning to understand their own limitations according to socialization, the current 2020 American Presidential Election has also forced humans to confront how systems in power have used socialization in order to oppress people.
COVID-19 also provides the space for individuals to begin the second step in the cycle of liberation: “getting ready” for liberation. Harro describes this step as “dismantling and building aspects of ourselves and our worldviews based on our new perspective… [through] introspection, education, and consciousness-raising” (Harro 620). As such soul-searching requires a lot of personal space and time, social distancing requirements provide the perfect opportunity for humans to prepare ourselves for the liberation that is about to begin.
As “getting ready” requires that humans become more conscious beings who operate from a space of love, many spiritual communities would agree that the pandemic will increase the collective consciousness of this world (Harro 620). Eckhart Tolle, a famous spiritual teacher who believes that enlightenment can come from being still, joked that the Coronavirus must be from “some high intelligence [that] said, “what you need now is to go to your room and be still” (Winfrey).
Even astrology proves that society is transitioning into liberation, as we are currently leaving the age of Pisces after 2000 years, a period of socialization, and entering the age of Aquarius, a period of liberation. As a vertical structure, Pisces required that humanity be hierarchical, as individuals were forced to fit into the roles society expected of them. However, Aquarius falls under a horizontal structure, where all individuals within society will be equal, allowing individuals to become whoever they’d like to be (Khalsa). As liberation requires that we work together as communities, valuing every person’s voice and existence, the horizontal structure of Aquarius symbolizes that people will value their own community voices rather than authoritarian voices that rule above them.
Once released from the confines of this pandemic, liberation will truly take form. Harro describes the final steps in the cycle of liberation as reaching out to others, building communities, coalescing, creating change, and lastly, continuing to maintain these liberated movements (Harro 620). A fully liberated society is one in which humans are constantly working together, to ensure that structures of society are equal for all people.
After months alone “getting ready,” humanity will be fully prepared to embrace the entire cycle of liberation. As humanity’s increased collective consciousness will drive individuals to authentically care, love, and support all people; all people will “matter,” as there will no longer be one “normative” identity. While our past was shaped by systems that defined us, our future will be shaped according to who we want to become. So while the current darkness of COVID might cast a shadow on what we believe our future holds, it is, in fact, through this darkness that the spark of liberation is being lit, preparing to enlighten our world as we emerge from our quarantine.
Harro, Bobbie. “The Cycle of Liberation.” Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, edited by Maurianne Adams, Routledge, 2000, pp. 618–624.
Hubbard, Barbara. “Conscious Evolution: The 10 Keys to Saving Humanity and Healing the Planet.” Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, 24 Apr. 2019, www.consciouslifestylemag.com/conscious-evolution-save-humanity-planet/.
Khalsa, Santokh Singh. “The Aquarian Shift: What Will Be Different?” 3HO, www.3ho.org/3ho-lifestyle/aquarian-age/aquarian-shift-what-will-be-different.
Winfrey, Oprah, and Eckhart Tolle. “Eckhart Tolle: How to Find a New Spiritual Awakening During the Pandemic.” Apple Podcasts, 13 May 2020, podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/eckhart-tolle-how-to-find-new-spiritual-awakening-during/id1264843400?i=1000474423353. Accessed 1 Nov. 2020.