If you’re old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis you might recall what it felt like to be braced for extinction. How close we came. Somehow, we stepped back from the brink.
Was it the genius of JFK or a mutual, over-riding survival instinct that won the day? Probably a bit of each.
The missile crisis was entirely man-made. Can the same thing be said of the pandemic?
At face value, the virus is a naturally occurring entity of which there are billions on our tiny planet. It was, of course, the unusual jump from animal to human which transformed it into such a disruptive and deadly agent.
Even so, without the massive human population, our density of habitation and the ubiquity of global travel, would our experience be so dire?
We do at least now all recognise the reality of the threat from biochemical evolution. But Covid is not an extinction level threat in the way that the missiles were. Yet we responded as if it was.
The global scientific community has come together across national boundaries to build an incredible pipeline of vaccines.
It may not yet be the coming together needed to avoid the numerous threats we pose to ourselves and our fellow species but it is a move in that direction. Proof of what we can achieve when the will exists to act as one.
So how can we harvest the motivation on which the vaccine quest was built and deploy it to save the planet?
In Infinite State, the final part of the The Infinity Trilogy, a channel for such a harvest emerges from an unlikely source. Can the groundswell it creates triumph over the self interest and cynicism of our creaking politics?