Is Covid19 Pandemic Pushing Human Beings To Cave Syndrome?

by Dr Arshed Iqbal Dar

Professor Steven Taylor, a psychiatrist at the University of British Columbia in Canada has speculated that the pandemic will see a rise of hikikomori (an agoraphobia-like phenomenon) where people scarcely leave their houses and practice social isolation

At the entrance of the Shalimar Garden in Srinagar outskirts, the health staff on August 26, 2021, is checking the Covid19 inoculation certificate of all visitors. If they fail to prove that they have taken the vaccine, they have to undergo a test. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Nature is the theatre in which God displays his signs. By nature here we mean the whole visible cosmos including society and human beings. God himself has given us the power to improve society, so how could we not make use of it? What then is the remedy for the problems of human society? How can hunger, diseases, oppression, pollution, and a thousand other human-produced ills be cured?

Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many to foster the maxim of ‘indoor good and outdoor bad’ just because of a lot of perplexing questions. What will happen if I get in physical contact with a Covid19 carrier? Is everybody vaccinated? Will the world ever solve the mystery of Covid-19’s origin? What will happen if I get in touch with the more deadly version of the virus?

As the information like a new variant has the potential of killing one of every three infected because if its close resemblance to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), people get unnerved. These unsettled questions facilitate the growth of cave syndrome among individuals, which is an unusual behaviour to avoid venturing outside and to remain secluded in safe places or indoors or caves.

Cave syndrome was introduced by psychiatrist Dr Arthur Bregman at his practice in Coral Gables, Florida. A person fears going out in public places where he or she feels helpless, trapped, or embarrassed and the people with this condition have a fear of losing control and they often start to avoid the situations that they fear or insist on having another person go with them. Such people may become completely homebound and dependent on others for daily tasks, such as grocery shopping etc.

Professor Steven Taylor, a psychiatrist at the University of British Columbia in Canada has predicted the rise of anxiety in the aftermath of Covid-19. He speculated that the pandemic will see a rise of hikikomori (an agoraphobia-like phenomenon) where people scarcely leave their houses and practice social isolation.

Barring the eagle overseeing the Hari Singh High Street, there is no life visible on May 12, 2021. This was the scene of the lockdown that was strictly implemented by the government to prevent the escalation of Covid19 infection ahead of Eid celebrations. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Stephens (2020), Vox (2020), Samuel (2021) and Rodriguez (2021) have worked on the sources of fear and they have clearly depicted in their results that there are two categories of groups that have fear of coming back to normality. The first group is worried about doing things they have not done for a long time, while the second group have anxiety from issues that were hidden in pre-pandemic and became clearer during the pandemic.

The greatest challenge for humanity is to step into the world of new possibilities that exist with transformation. Humans, for most of their life, are in a state of transmutation. It started with a drop of fluid and then they were born, became infants. From infancy, they arrived at youth and adulthood, from youth they arrived at maturity, and from maturity to senility.

Finally, life itself is nullified and there remains a body without the anima. The body is also nullified and falls apart. Thus it is clear that the human body dwells in change and transmutation and doesn’t last in one place. Likewise, if we want to understand the true nature of the cosmos, it is sufficient to have functioning senses, a rational mind and the desire to understand.

Dr Arshed Iqbal Dar (Islamia College)

Introspection will lead anyone to see levels of perception and awareness within self and these levels of awareness reflect the structure of the outside world. Moreover, if we have to get out of this pandemic then the prerequisite is to solve the mystery of Covid-19’s origin and learn the facts about how it emerged to prevent future outbreaks.

Since the first World War, disputes amongst nations, accusations and counter-accusations, and the strikes and surgical strikes are escalating the hostility and the interest to develop biological agents as weapons of war at an alarming rate. A majority of the biological agents that have been considered as weapons are zoonotic. Dire need is to review the existing international laws and norms, like the Biological Weapons Convention and the International Health Regulations to strengthen their regulatory teeth to enforce those norms. Rest to get ready with the new normal, which is simply returning to the status quo with some extra appendages.

(Author teaches Zoology at the Islamia College of Science and Commerce, Srinagar. The opinions expressed in this write-up are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the views of Kashmir Life.)

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