The Allure of a Ritual: Celebrating Hajj through the Arts
27 July 2020
The Virtue of Nothing in the Time of Coronavirus Pandemic
In one episode of the COVID Culture Discussion program broadcast by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Instagram, director and lifestyle designer enthusiast, Bader Alhomoud, reviews three tips to create a healthy lifestyle during home quarantine. Most notably: receiving information from official sources, saying yes to new experiences, and reconciling with failure. He advocates not rushing to share new experiences unless the right partner is found. This last point is about protecting yourself from judgment and social pressure in case those experiences fall short. It is also about finding meaning behind lifestyle changes and establishing motives for sustainability. Sometimes the meaning is more important than the results and material gains that the healthy new routine will achieve.
Alhomoud describes isolation during the coronavirus pandemic as an incomplete shortcoming, since it’s often closer to seclusion than isolation. He discusses “nothing” during the pandemic as a virtue and an indication of God’s ample blessings, stressing that the virtue of naught and confronting void is more fortunate than directly facing the illness. Gratitude, he explains, will keep us sane and sound.
Alhomoud acknowledges that social networking is a double-edged sword. It can be a platform for anyone seeking to deliver information during the pandemic, which increases the chance of spreading delusions as well as proper information. He further explains that medical data, daily reports and continuous awareness campaigns conducted by the Ministry of Health offer everyone a sense of reassurance, which greatly deters delusions.
He explains that social networks aren’t true reflections of reality, and they aren’t expected to be because they are merely channels for disseminating information and opinion. He sees quarantine as a perfect period for carrying out any deferred plans such as adopting a healthy lifestyle, going through that pile of to-read books, or watching cinematic wonders that we never had the time to watch before.
Alhomoud concludes that the most important goal for any person during the pandemic should be to preserve their psychological stability and not submit to anxiety or depression. He advises the importance of doing mind-stimulating activities such as physical exercise, reading, video games, and avoiding a state of entertainment consumerism that lacks any mental input.