If an extraterrestrial were to appear today on Earth, it would inform its alien confreres of the existence of a strange race of beings who are obsessed about caring for its most fragile members. It would also communicate that on that diminutive blue planet which travels at full speed through the Milky Way it had detected frenetic activity around hospitals, homes for the elderly and supermarkets. It is a Planet of very peculiar beings who cover their faces with small masks and who, at the cyclical call of a satellite called the Moon, come out to their windows and balconies in order to applaud the work of those who care for others, an especially valued tribe judging by the amount of work they do and the unanimous recognition given to them by the rest. On the other hand, it might also happen that the Martian informant might write a dossier about a distant star in which a captive race was waging a battle without mercy against an invisible enemy. This would be a planet of peculiar beings, who at the cyclical call of a satellite called the Moon go to their windows and balconies to ward off fear and instill courage in one another.

Perhaps in order to explain what is happening to us today there is no other way except by mixing the two narratives: that of caring with that of fear, the one of solidarity with the one of defensiveness. However, in order to build the future, we have no choice but to choose one of them. What kind of society would we like to build when we get out of this emergency situation, a planet of people who are cared for or a defensive planet? What exceptional (in the sense of excellent) decisions will we stay with after this exceptional situation? Will we decide that caring for the most vulnerable will always be the cornerstone on which we will construct the model for our civilization? When our alien neighbors finally decide to pay us a visit, will they be met with the affectionate welcome of a caring planet or with the immunological borders of a defensive planet?

In the 16th Century Copernicus taught us that the Earth was not the center of the known universe. That privilege belonged to the star called the Sun. In the 21st Century a lethal virus has forced us to shift our social center of gravity. Health care, education, housing, work, human rights, leisure, planets that until barely a few days ago were orbiting under the gravitational pull of the star Economy, are now circling around the planet of “Caring”.

Whenever we have the time to mourn and cry for the death of all those who have now traveled to other distant stars without our being able to embrace them, that will be the moment to decide if, as a society, we will continue supporting a new cosmic order that circles around the most fragile or if we will return to a fratricidal “econo-centrism” in a disordered galaxy. From the heavens there are a lot of stars that observe us with high hopes.

[Image from Pixabay]

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Father, theologian and musician. Member of the Theological Area of Christianity and Justice. He has written several Booklets in this collection: “Vulnerable Bodies. Caring as a Political Horizon” (2020), “Seeking Sanctuary: The Political Construction Of Habitable Places” (2019), “Steeping on the Moon. Eschatology and Politics” (2016), “Evangelical dystopias” (2013), “ Taking stock of reality, taking responsability for reality, and taking charge of reality”(2011) and “And if God were not perfect?”(2000).
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