Reader Opinion: No man is an island


What if, a few months back, someone told you that you couldn’t associate with your loved ones unless you both wore a medical mask and stayed 6 feet away from each other? That you couldn’t hold that new great-grandson who was born while you were down south. That you viewed everyone as someone potentially coming to infect you and for now, you need to isolate yourself. You probably would have replied, ‘Seriously?’ Yet here we are in the midst of something bigger than all of us. Something we have no idea how to deal with.

John Donne, who was an English writer, once wrote, “No man is an island.” In it he tried to bring out the idea that we are all bits and pieces of everyone we ever knew. That no one can live in isolation and still grow as a human being. He also wrote, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in all mankind.” It makes you think about what this self-imposed exile is doing to us. That the nonphysical part of you is going to run out of material and fast.

Yes, I am quoting John Donne, because that’s what writers do. Every subject, every word and thought, that has ever existed or has ever been uttered or wrote about, has already been broached at some point. Yet we try to put our own spin on it in an effort to use the subject in our own way. You might say we personalize it. Sometimes poorly and sometimes more richly than the original. But in the end, it’s how our minds and our character grow.

Social distancing may be essential in these times but the sooner we can get back to normal, the sooner we can continue growing.

Mike Holst



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