Your breastplate and your helmet is to protect only you. The shield is to protect the entire group. Stephen Pressfield, author of “Gates of Fire” about the 300 Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae (also “The War of Art” another one of my favorites), encouraged us recently to hold up our shields.
The United States has the tenth highest death rate of COVID-19 as of this writing according to the Mortality Analysis from Johns Hopkins. We have the largest number of cases and deaths overall. Our response to this pandemic has not been globally viewed as a good one. The citizens of the United States could easily change this, if we could behave like a Spartan.
I believe, like the Stoics, that we all share a mutual interconnectedness and interdependence, and that our choices in life should always have the “highest good” in mind. Let us raise our proverbial shields (wear our masks), and protect the greater good. Let us not cast away that shield for some bizarre sense of “personal freedom.”