The once in a century occurrence we are all going through can be horrendous; it can be frightening; it almost certainly will, at the very least, move our respective cheeses in unexpected and unpleasant ways; but it can also be an opportunity, both personally and collectively, for something I have decided to term “the Great Introspection”.
The great advantage of enforced/mandated inactivity is that it nullifies one of the great enemies of contemplative thought – the pressure to achieve, to accrue gain.
When one can easily (or at least simply) trade time for money, it is hard to resist the temptation. Now revenue sources are drying up and one’s time is relatively less in demand. It can be far more helpful to cut costs and use the time left over to address the technical debt of the soul.
Historically speaking, a prime example of the advantage of enforced downtime is that of Isaac Newton, who in 1665 during the Great Plague was sent home from University. Over the the next two years he continued his studies at home completely on his own, inventing calculus, among other things.
Today as well, although most of us use up our time binge watching Netflix, some are surely hard at work, doing their own thing. Who knows what new businesses, ideas, or even spiritual revelations are even now being cooked up in somebody’s head?
It’s hard to quantify how the process works. After all, it’s not that we can say, “well, let’s budget so and so human years of idleness and you’ll get such and such a number of works of Genius”. However I would put money on it if I had to. Some great things will eventually be recognized as having their roots in this period.