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Letter from... Rome

02 July 2020

By Maurizio Maione, Vice president, SEC Newgate

With images of people getting back to the old life from North to South, whilst enjoying an aperitif, I reflected on the real reach and consistency of adopting positive change in our lives. Is there a possibility for humanity take the lessons learnt from this experience and make lasting improvements? Or are we conditioned to return to our old and comfortable habits?

I’ve been challenged by the fact that people no longer seem to care about social distancing, particularly once they have the pleasure of good company and good times. What really concerns me, is the spoiled opportunity to adopt more sound values and visions in everyday life.

From the media to people’s chatting, attitudes have changed from we are “all United” to a more hapless “all will end up well”. Similarly, positive murmurings are starting to wear off.

Indeed, I fear that we are not taking the opportunity for salvation we’ve been given. Our lives made a complete U turn as did attitudes and values when it came to our instinct for conservation. However, you really need lots of focus to keep the momentum and maintain new attitudes and values that are crucial during critical times.

Having survived a potentially lethal illness myself, how we live has had a lasting impact on me and I feel I’ve watched the process of normality return before. I am one of the survivor pack, luckily one of an increasing panel these days, as I survived a blood cancer some 10 years ago. I perfectly recall the process by which I returned to the normal habits I had before getting ill. The clear vision and ambitions of changing my life towards more positive ends slowly faded away the longer the distance with the illness grew.

I did retain a few basic lessons that I learnt at that time. But the process was, I believe, an inevitable defence from an experience that touched me very deeply. Pushing the pain I had experienced to the back of my conscious, returning to my previous life was a way to protect myself and continue life.

Whilst I am only one small cog in the grand scheme of things, I know that I too have contributed to the wasted opportunity we’ve been given and lost. As a human race that adds up to a significant figure of individuals.  Would it have been preferable to keep and maintain more equitable, united and gentle attitudes established by Covid-19 society? Or can we move on and maintain a grasp on the basics of this incredible psychological and social experience? 

Perhaps Monty Python was on to something in terms of the meaning of life.