Sources of Hope in the Face of COVID and the Polycrisis

Dear New School Friends:

I hope this finds you well.
I’ve been thinking about sources of hope in the face of COVID and the polycrisis.


COVID isn’t going away any time soon. In fact COVID will be with us for the foreseeable future.

I’ve started a little experimental website called where we are tracking COVID in ways you won’t find elsewhere. First, we post and comment on key science and news developments. Second, we track repurposed drugs and integrative therapies for COVID prevention and treatment. Third, we situate COVID in the global polycrisis.


In our work on integrative therapies and repurposed drugs, we offer some excellent guides to integrative approaches to strengthen yourself to reduce risk of infection and lessen the severity of the virus if you get infected.

We also track a number of repurposed drugs, especially a drug called ivermectin.

Ivermectin won its discoverers a Nobel Prize for its antiparasitic effects. It is prescribed globally. It is on the WHO list of essential medicines. The controversy is not over its antiparasitic use but over the claims for its benefits for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. This controversy has become a global pitched battle between proponents, opponents, and those who want to see further objective confirmation before deciding.

We track the ivermectin controversy citing studies and opinions on all sides. This approach grows out of almost four decades of work we’ve done on sometimes controversial integrative cancer therapies. You can can find our work at  We’ve evaluated more than 90 integrative and repurposed cancer drugs. Ivermectin is also, in fact, being researched for cancer.

If ivermectin were to prove effective at either prevention or treatment, it would be a game-changer for the pandemic. It is cheap, globally available, and safe when used as prescribed. We don’t take a position on the controversy. We track the more than 70 clinical trials reported at



Now, about finding hope in the COVID pandemic and the global polycrisis. Hope may be hard to find. Look carefully for its sources.


This is what comes to me.

First, love, friendship, and community give us hope.
We’re in this together.
We’ll do far better if we stay close.

Lao Tzu said:

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

I have found this true in my direct experience.


Learn the Flowers

Second, we need to know what to say to our children. Gary Snyder wrote this beautiful poem:

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light


Third, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God,” Teilhard de Chardin wrote.

Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish woman in Amsterdam who found God and joy in the midst of the Nazi occupation. She volunteered to work in a transfer camp where Jews were gathered to be shipped to Auschwitz and other camps by train. She could have been hidden, successfully, by friends who offered to do so. But she wanted to share the fate of her people. She could be seen standing in the middle of the camp with all its horror with tears of joy streaming down her face. She and her family, when it came time, walked into the jam-packed transport cars singing. The story is told in Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed, by Patrick Woodhouse.


Etty was saint-like. Yet I have known hundreds of people in the Commonweal Cancer Help Program who radiated peace and joy even in extremis. We have that ability within us. We don’t always know how to find it. The secret is to turn to our friends to share our experiences of both our personal travails and the global travails with each other without judgement. We learn to do that at



Dedicating oneself to the Great Work is the surest path I know to hope in the pandemic and the polycrisis.

We need love.
We need community.
We need joy.

But service is the surest path of all. Finding the smallest ways to align ourselves with the great forces of goodness and light is the most certain path toward a life of peace.

It doesn’t so much matter what you do as the place within yourself that aligned work comes.
Do it yourself or join with others in some worthy work that helps others.

Work, together with love, friends, community, and joy in what we have been given will take us a long way.

I welcome your greater wisdom,