Isabel Allende has been living in the United States for 30 years and is currently closed at home with her husband and two dogs. When asked about the main fear implying the virus, she said “since our daughter Paula died 27 years ago, I have lost my fear of death forever. First, because I saw her die in my arms, and I realized that death is like birth, it’s a transition, a threshold, and I lost my personal fear.
At this moment if I catch the virus, I belong to the group of the most vulnerable, I’m 77 years old and I know that if I catch the virus I can die, and this possibility at this point in my life is very clear, but I look at it with curiosity and without fear. What this pandemic has taught me is to free myself from things. It has never been so clear to me that I need very little to live. I don’t need to buy, I don’t need more clothes, I don’t need to go anywhere, or travel, now I see I have too much. I don’t need more than two dishes!
Then I started to realize who the true friends are and the people I want to be with.” When asked about the teaching of the pandemic for the collective, Isabel answers: “Teach us how to sort out priorities and show us reality. This pandemic underlines the inequalities of opportunity and resources in which society lives globally. Some pass the pandemic on a yacht in the Caribbean, and others go hungry, on the streets or at home closed in. It also brings the message that we are one family.
What happens to a human being in Wuhan has a reflection on the entire planet. We’re all connected, and that’s really evidence of the tribal idea that we’re separated by groups and that we can defend our small group from other groups is an illusion. There are no walls, or walls that can separate people. The virus has brought a new mindset and today a large number of people, among them: creators, artists, scientists, young men and women, are moving towards a new normal. They don’t want to go back to old normality. The virus invited us to design a new future. What do we dream for ourselves as global humanity?
I realized we came into the world to lose everything. The more you live, the more you lose. First you lose your parents or very sweet people, your pets, some places and then slowly your own mental and physical faculties. We can’t live in fear. Fear stimulates a future that makes living in the present a dark experience. We need to relax and appreciate what we have and live in the present.”
– From an interview by Isabel Allende with text translation and adaptation by Ruth Joy