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The Heart and the Brain: Consequences of the Coronavirus in Our Future Lives

Remember 9/11? For days it felt surreal: the brain said move on, the heart was afraid. Empty stores and firefighters' funerals on 5th Ave...

by Alberto Milani

Heart and Brain Dichotomy and the Coronavirus

A few days after the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers, I take a train from Connecticut to New York City. I have to.

I leave two children, one newborn, with my wife.

The heart says that they are the only certainty in my life and I could not love them more. I have no other certainties. We all are in a tight corner, there are no rules and we do not know when and if it will ever end.

The brain says they are counting on me but the heart is afraid.

In the last stretch near the Grand Central Station terminal, it gets dark outside the window.

The brain says the station would strategically be an ideal place to continue the attack. The heart is afraid, nobody talks and maybe everyone is thinking the same thing.

Wearing a gas mask, a New York National Guard Soldier from the “Fighting” 69th Infantry Division pauses amid the rubble at ground zero. (Photo by the New York National Guard)

For days, we live in a surreal atmosphere. The brain says to go on, but the heart is afraid.

Empty shops, funeral marches with police and firefighters on Fifth Avenue.

The brain says that nothing will be like before.

Who would be interested in jewelry at a time like this?

Then one day, a young couple enters one of the most prestigious jewelry stores in the world on that same street. I am in charge, as always, and I have to put a good face on. They tell me that, because of the future’s uncertainty, they have decided to get married and they want me to recommend their engagement ring. They want it to be Italian.

They smile at me and say that their love will go beyond. The heart opens and I smile too. The brain says that the heart is right, it is not true that nothing will be the same as before.

Twenty years have almost passed, the children have grown up but, today more than ever, they need us right now.

NYC subway on a Wednesday morning (Photo VNY)

The heart is still afraid, but the brain says that today we have certainties that we did not have in 2001.

We know the enemy and know that, by definition, it will have a beginning and an end. We also know that Italian companies produce the best in the world in many fields.

We have creativity and ingenuity. The heart is afraid but this time the brain silences it. We will be stronger and more competitive. The Italians will start over as always and better.

They will be able to show their worth.

We will be more united by the desire to showcase what Italians are made of.

Nothing will be like before. Maybe in this case, it could be better this way.

The heart smiles and the brain nods.


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