Seeing viruses at work

Rob Jackson
Director, Institute for Classical Education

No fooling! On this first day of the month, we are living in ways that no one could have predicted even 6 months ago. How quickly the entire world has changed–all because of a little virus.

Interestingly enough, viruses we have had with us for generations innumerable, but the upside is that today we have the advantage of seeing them at work (with the aid of electron microscopes), in ways that previous generations simply could not. With this additional capability, we can get to know the nature of the virus better, to fight and resist it. But, we can also begin to grasp more of the interdependence of our species–both biologically and socially.

This New Yorker interview of historian Frank Snowden highlights the interplay between the biological and social aspects of human nature. As Snowden points out, “Cholera and tuberculosis in today’s world move along the fault lines created by poverty and inequality,” essentially revealing a biological niche exploited by the virus. “But it’s also true that the way that we respond very much depends on our values, our commitments, and our sense of being part of the human race and not smaller units.”

From such a recognition of our manifold nature, it seems that the present difficulties are the biological backdrop for the moral drama that has yet to be written–by us.

>> Read more from our blog section.


VIRTUE is the flagship publication of the Institute for Classical Education. It disseminates stories, ideas, research and experiences in classical education to readers across the nation, helping them to pursue the classical ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Subscribing to VIRTUE's mailing list is absolutely free.

VIRTUE Magaizine Issue 08

Sign up today for your copy and join 25,000+ teachers, leaders, and friends of K-12 Classical education.