Society after coronavirus: five ideas

1: Individualism is dead

The pandemic is forcing us to think hard and deep about ourselves as people. Ultimately, this will put an end to the rampant individualism that characterises capitalist societies.

“Coronavirus is teaching us something. The kind of people we need to become. It put a sudden stop to our descent into regression, egotism, self-preservation — the one forced on us by a perfect storm of failed systems. And instead, gave us a chance to mature, to grow, to remember what the journey of human consciousness has always really been about.”

2: The sinister age of biopolitics

Foucault’s theory of ‘biopolitics’ is now emerging as a dominant social force, reshaping the organisation of society.

“Instead of worrying about the increase of surveillance mechanisms and indiscriminate control under a new “state of exception,” I therefore tend to worry about the fact that we already are docile, obedient biopolitical subjects. Biopolitical power is not (only) exercised on our lives from the “outside,” as it were, but has been a part of what we are, of our historical form of subjectivity, for at least the past two centuries.

This is why I doubt that any effective strategy of resistance to its most dangerous aspects should take the form of a global refusal, following the logic of the “blackmail” of biopolitics. Foucault’s remarks about a “critical ontology of ourselves” may turn out to be surprisingly helpful here, since it is the very fabric of our being that we should be ready to question.”

3: The poor suffer disproportionately

A comparison between the pandemic today and the London plague of 1666, reveals how such large scale health disasters disproportionately affect the poor.

“If nothing else, pandemics expose our lies and delusions that we are all in this together, even if the UK Prime Minister does lie in hospital. An unseen virus is brutally exposing the faults of our society – its inequality, our complacencies and delusions, the consequences of our political decisions, what really matters when it all gets stripped down to basics.”

4: The press has been revealed as a tool for suppression

The media is being weaponised by the government, as increasingly exaggerated claims proliferate. This marks the end of liberal democracy.

“We are one, gigantic lumpen proletariat being herded from one false alarm and counterfeit narrative to another by government, news and social media. And all the agencies that used to protect us from such a process now work directly or indirectly for the State.

The idea that liberal democracy can survive (let alone thrive) in that context is merely another triumph of fancy over fact.”

5: Digital racism goes viral

Minorities are being unfairly targeted and trolled on the internet. There is a fresh urgency to tackle this online trend before racism goes globally viral and cannot be stopped.

“Research has shown that fear of illness makes people irrational.In the case of an epidemic, rumors and stereotypes are known to lead to scapegoating, which leads to further racism and discrimination. Differences in culture and ways of living are viewed as threats to one’s own existence. Fear of disease can be easily exploited to spread xenophobia for political or other gain.”

-The Cultural Courier

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 16 Apr 2020 at 15:58 UTC