Edgar Morin, the French philosopher, wrote the book “Let’s change lanes, the lessons of the Coronavirus” as he turned one hundred years old and he shared his thoughts on a future characterised by a “new humanism”. We put together some of the many questions he asked readers in those pages, giving you the opportunity to reflect on them.
Uncertainty is part of the great adventure of humanity, each national history and each “normal” life. The reason for this is that each life is an uncertain adventure: we cannot know ahead of time how our personal life and our relationships will be like, nor when our death will come, even though it is certain. We will undoubtedly face more uncertainties than we ever did before, due to the virus and the consequent crises, so we should equip ourselves to cope with that.
Many share the feeling that the world of tomorrow will no longer be the one we had yesterday. What will it be like then? Will the healthcare, economic, political and social crises lead our society towards a breakdown? Will we be capable of learning a lesson from this pandemic after it showed all humankind the link between our shared destiny and that of the bioecology of the planet?
Will the numerous supportive initiatives that took place during these exceptional months be maintained? Will the awakening of solidarity, which emerged during the period of isolation, continue to exist and increase, not just in support of healthcare workers but also the most vulnerable groups? Or, once we go back to our habits, will everything be anesthetised, turned into a folkloristic memory and finally forgotten during new testing circumstances and crises?
What will remain of the reforming and transforming aspirations?
Is globalisation shattered? Will it recover? Wholly? Partially? Will it be built again on the same and unique foundations based on material techno-economic development? Should we not enrich and humanise the notion of development that destroyed so many forms of solidarity and community? Should we not link globalisation with partial de-globalisations?
Will the problems caused by the coronavirus worsen the context [of increasing xenophobic nationalisms] or help to meet the challenges of democracy? Should we then fear that [the freedom-restricting measures] would be arbitrarily renewed?
During the crisis we were able to consume just what was indispensible; will the overconsumption impulses, stemming from ever-present advertising, become compelling again? Was neoliberalism simply shaken up a bit? Will it not regain the lead? Will the economy, which was paralysed by confinement, return to its previous path?
Will we see a recovery of globalisation or more autarchic turns? Will large countries enter more conflicts than they did before? Will their power dynamics change? Will China rule the world or get dismembered as it did in the past? Will the armed conflicts that the coronavirus crisis more or less mitigated get worse? Or the opposite, will there be a healthy breath of international cooperation?