When the world started changing due to the pandemic it had a big impact on my focus on my intellectual development process. This blog post tells my story and I hope this will help you to reflect on how the pandemic affected your intellectual development.
Let’s start with the question, what is the meaning of intellectual? While different people may make sense of the word ‘intellectual’ in different ways, based on their thinking, to me intellectual is the quality of my thinking and understanding aspects I am concerned with. The stronger my intellectuality becomes, I tend to understand aspects I am concerned with and the related complexities in a deeper manner. The shift in priorities brought about by the pandemics resulted in some interesting changes to my intellectual development processes.
When lockdowns started and air travel was restricted, I was compelled to stay in Bangladesh at a friends home until an opportunity arose for me to flyback home to my family in Sri Lanka. I had put my doctoral studies on hold a few months before the pandemic as other priorities did not provide me the space to focus on my thesis. When many of my clients decided to postpone the projects they had signed up with me, I envisaged a lot of free time opening up for me and I decided to re-focus on my thesis.
Whiles I was able to allocate a few hours a day in the first few days to further my thesis, very soon the time available evaporated. My focus was moving towards understand the complexities of the pandemic. How did it positively and negatively affect various life forms including human beings? New items, conversations, writings, videos on this matter caught my attentions. I recorded some short videos to help my clients to deal with the pandemic while speaking with some others. I started conducting webinars on how to deal with the present and prepare for the future. All this required some research from outside as well as deep self-reflection.
Self-reflection was required when responding to the questions that came up during webinars. There were no answers available out there. I tapped in to my 4-years of research in to the notion of ‘purpose’ that was stored in my brain and tried to make sense of the reality from the frame of purposefulness. A key insight was that peoples sense of purposes had changes and further reflection of the questions I received and my own reflection showed that ‘reality’ faced by people had an impact of their sense of purpose. This resulted in may bringing in the word ‘realities’ in to my purpose statement as well.
Four month after the pandemic had started, I find that had not written or read anything in an organised manner with regard to my thesis. However I believe I have conducted a lot of research which have been written in my journals and my 120 plus daily blog posts written during the pandemic. Al these action-research based reflections are fertile materiel for my thesis. Therefore while I feel that the pandemic was intellectually stimulating, it has happened in a very different way to the pre-pandemic era.
A question that comes up is; was the pandemic in someway designed to stimulate us intellectually in a manner different to what we were used to and what we had designed in the past? What do you think?
I wish you purposeful living.