Many are characterizing 2020 as a kairos year, the forces of a global pandemic and a long-simmering disease of the soul forging an opening for change. Already COVID-19 and our reckoning with unchallenged hierarchies of human value have revealed structural, social, and moral realities previously hidden or denied, to say nothing of what they continue to reveal about the state of our own hearts. Many are asking: What gives life meaning? What does it require to live well together?
As everyone scrambles to make sense of a rapidly changing context, it is natural to revert to a survival mode characterized by reactive thinking, short-term analysis, and feel-good meaning-making. Comment neither condemns these instincts nor feels exempt from their temptations. Still, we sense a momentous opportunity for big questions to be considered. There is a new, pandemic-inspired social realization that we need a reset, one shaped by (1) a sober-minded, clear-eyed view of the present, (2) a discerning, rigorous study of the past, and (3) a pragmatic yet creative reimagining of the future as we face it together and build anew.