Some time ago, I saw a documentary on Netflix called “One Strange Rock.” It was hosted by Will Smith and talked about how astronauts’ experiences in space had altered their perception of our planet. 

Invariably, they spoke about how seeing this bright blue and white orb in the blackness of space made them realize it’s where we all live together. There are no borders drawn on it. The only separation visible from space is the Great Wall of China, and we all know that didn’t work to keep anyone out for long.

The history of humankind is one of ever increasing unity. From the time cavemen realized that hunting and gathering in groups was more efficient than doing it individually, they formed tribes. Later with the coming of agriculture, these became cities and eventually countries. 

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COVID-19 is showing us that we are all connected. Our borders are useless against it. The idea of “the other” is ridiculous. We are all equal before it. An example of how antiquated the idea of borders is: I am a U.S. citizen, my wife is Canadian. When this pandemic erupted she returned to Canada where she could use her health card if need be. 

I could not accompany her because Canada closed its borders to U.S. citizens. We are both healthy as of this writing, but are unnecessarily separated. There is no knowing when we may be together again. I’m sure there are others around the world in similar situations caused by borders.

I am an English teacher. I have taught English as a foreign language (EFL) to foreigners in the U.S., in Chile, and in Mexico. Next year I will probably be in Guinea, West Africa, teaching English. The English language is the world language of business and a unifying force.

I know that to some people this idea of one world united may seem unrealistic, but I read somewhere once that ideas can have mass. If enough people start thinking the same way, the idea gathers momentum and becomes the new reality. Remember “liberte, egalite, et fraternite” from the French Revolution almost echoed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the U.S.? 

It only requires us to gain the consciousness that the astronauts showed and realize this is only one world — and we all share it.

Robert E. Knight lived in Colorado for 12 years, but now splits his time among various locations.