As part of the new online learning opportunities we are adding during the COVID-19 crisis, I’m teaching a four week class called “How We Meet a Pandemic.” This morning (March 23), we posted the first lecture, which you can view here. If you’d like to learn more and register, just click here.
One of the most consistent messages we are receiving in this moment of crisis is the critical importance of creating physical space between us. It is the surest way to stop the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
The shorthand for this is “social distancing.” It’s an understandable choice of words, but it’s not specific enough. And that lack of specificity is already having problematic effects. When we say “social,” to some degree we always mean “relational.” The very last thing we need right now is relational distance.
Community matters now more than ever. Our work in the coming weeks will be to strengthen the connections we have with each other. We live in a fortunate time for this kind of crisis, because technology can allow us to be much more connected to each other than in any other moment in history. Because of social distancing, experiences of isolation and fear are increasing. They don’t have to.
We will need to be creative about how we connect, and attentive to what matters most in our lives. We can share anxieties, but sharing joys will be surprising and healing. We can grieve together, and also be grateful. Fear is contagious. So is hope.
The Jung Center will be providing much of our spring programming online, along with some new offerings that invite us to reflect on our current experience together. As my colleague Michael Craig wrote yesterday, “our hearts and our minds can share spaces that our bodies cannot.”
A brief update. The Jung Center’s building is closing tonight, March 16, at 5 pm, and we do not plan to reopen until at least March 29. But we will continue to offer new and previously scheduled programming online. The online learning section of our website is being frequently updated, and you can add yourself there to an emailing list to receive online programming updates over the coming weeks.
It’s hard to send this note. Sharing the same physical space, breathing the same air, has become dangerous, but it has been essential to the experience of learning and mutual transformation since we were founded. As soon as we can safely return to the physical classroom together, we will.
I will be regularly updating a new section of the website, From the Director, with news. And the staff will work from home. We will continue planning the summer semester and beyond. Email will be the best way to communicate with us during this period, though we will be checking voicemail.
In the meantime, be safe, and stay connected with us and with each other.