An event such as a pandemic can be always lurking and can suddenly break into our lives by abruptly altering stable boundaries, cracking all certainties, and shedding light on a devastating discovery: that of our vulnerability. We then rediscover ourselves as fragile creatures in the face of the incredible force of nature. This event reveals that there are possibilities that go beyond our control – our dependence not only on nature, but also on history – by destroying our daily illusion of freedom. “Freedom is not, unlike our illusory belief, a sort of “property”, an attribute of our individuality, of our Ego, it does not coincide at all with the fickleness of our whims” – writes Massimo Recalcati in a recent article published for La Repubblica on Saturday 14 March – “The virus teaches us that freedom cannot be lived without a sense of solidarity”. The isolation to which we must necessarily submit has a “highly civil and profoundly social, therefore absolutely supportive” nature, in fact it does not deprive us of our freedom, but rather allows us to exercise a responsible freedom that takes into account the effective consequences of our acts.
Despite the feeling of powerlessness in the face of a health, economic and social system that is now in crisis, it remains therefore necessary to engage in something concrete and not let time pass superficially in a flow of worries and hopes enclosed within four walls. It is really important to take this event seriously, in order to make it an experience that – by questioning us – transforms us (positively) and makes us more receptive. The coronavirus has forced us to ask new and important questions on which the structure of future society could depend and which continuously expose us to possibilities that escape our reason and our desires. Teresa Simeone, in the article “Humanism at the time of the Coronavirus” published on March 18 for MicroMega, writes:
“[The coronavirus epidemic] should leave some reflection on what ‘otherness’ means as the constitutive dimension of our subjectivity, on ‘what the other is for us’ which, more than ever, it means asking oneself about “what we are for the other”. It should open a window not only on the responsibilities of those who are infected, as if it were a fault to be, but on their psychological and physical condition; on his fear of being able to infect those close to him; on his experience of the disease as a shame almost intentionally sought, perhaps only for having incidentally passed through an area which later proved to be dangerous; on the violation of privacy, in the name of national security, which marks him as “greaser” and exposes him to the public condemn.”
Now more than ever, instead of speculate while waiting for a normality that will never be the same again, we would do better to answer – or at least try – to those questions that press on our individual lives and that together will determine the essence of our future in within the community. So that we will return to a peaceful daily life with a feeling of gratitude rather than complaints.
by Veronica Ventura