Thoughts we used to be preoccupied with
Shortly before the start of the pandemic we talked about the prevalence of a fluid reality [Bauman] in the Western world, with its main features being the refusal to accept restrictions and limits, the unconditional domination of youth, the intense and addictive pursuit of pleasure and its instrumentalization of knowledge. The tendency to avoid mental suffering and mental toil prevailed, promoting and supporting the omnipotence of the individual, while at the same time there was a devaluation but also a denial of any damage and loss – to the point of the denial of death itself.
We know, however, that when the psychization weakens, when we have a decline in the mental capacity to process what is happening, the creative existence of the Subject essentially recedes. De-psychicization prevails and an attempt is made to refute reality.
Kristeva had asked a provocative question, asking if we still have a soul.
The question was essentially about the fate of the imaginary in the reality we live in, as the world of prefabricated images mortally threatens our psychic life.
Modern man with the many changes that have taken place, in all their abundance and speed, does not manage to process them internally and to metabolize their impact and significance.
In the society we live in we are asked to believe that we will find joy, happiness, fulfillment by consuming material goods. Consumer society has tried to convince us that these will prevent the sufferings of the human destiny (loss, absence, decay, death).
Thoughts we are preoccupied with
And then the pandemic came… A virus, a biological agent reminded us of our biological being. A part of nature that is by no means our enemy, a part of nature that wants to grow, to multiply, but at the same time is threatening our own lives. The virus brutally and violently brought before us mortality and the inevitability of death. Our omnipotence collapsed and everything we know that it usually covers, emerged: fears, insecurities, weaknesses. And we suddenly remembered others like us, similar to us, as it usually happens when events arise that emphasize our “helplessness” and our vulnerability
We remembered to stand and think about what we could have done differently, in an alternative way, in nature, in society, in our relationships with others.
For some,the Economy remained the main concern.
The Western civilisation in crisis;
The Western civilisation at a dead-end;
Now we are threatened not only with psychic death but also with biological death. We are not as strong as we thought, nor can science and technology nullify decay and mortality .
We believed that since in key areas of pre-modern times we were able change any situation to our advantage, on the one hand by defeating the disobedient forces of nature and on the other hand by ensuring longevity, the man of the West could always continue in the same path. We are now experiencing the fear of sudden changes and catastrophes, caused by the elements of nature.
It is a deep, existential fear, which reminds us that during our evolutionary course we sought our survival by ignoring our fragility and forgetting that survival is not the absolute and most characteristic feature of human life. A Meaning is required, a meaning of life, with a unison of representation of self and world. Otherwise it will envelop us with emptiness and chaos.
It remains to be seen what we can do…