The spread of Covid-19 was a disruption of a paradoxical nature, spanning the globe impervious to ethnic, gender or class distinctions, shaking political and social systems which over recent years had often been marked by localism and divisions and by rising opposition to the building blocks underpinning the multilateralism built up since WW2.
These localisms have almost always been based on the rhetorical fallacy of the false dilemma which reduces the wide range of options actually available – characterised as they are by a growing complexity which is at times difficult to decipher – to a binary this or that.
The unresolved issues – starting with the environment – cannot be put off and impact every corner of the globe, with economic systems showing signs of fragility and dangers of further new inequalities.
With its attendant psychological upheaval, the health crisis quickly reshaped political agendas, creating a new social (physical) structure and impacting on our hitherto-known ways of life.
The interconnection of this period is above all between human beings, in which physical health or illness knows no barriers, requiring everyone to take responsibility for protecting others.
It is no longer merely a question of interdependence as a geopolitical concept, as conceived of by Joseph Nye1, as much as a means of going beyond traditional, structured frameworks, an opening up to “divergent”, creative ways of thinking that generate practical solutions while also able to reawaken the memory of beauty, art, culture and the spiritual.
The stimulus to search for a solution to the illness that has shattered so many of the conventions underlying our accepted way of life and thinking leads to the development of “mental antibodies”, requiring us, more than anything, to recalibrate our thinking.
Like wars and revolutions, a shared ordeal accelerates collective change, prodding nations to pursue social justice and even rethink their institutional mechanisms. The inherent or external accidents2 which, according to Machiavelli, lead men to be reminded of themselves and commonwealths to bring themselves back to their beginnings, result in men and communities relating to the entirety of life, with the concept that the time of human action, the time of action that links birth to death3 seems so indeterminable as not to know when the world of tomorrow will begin.
Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye Jr., “Power and Interdependence in the Information Age”, Foreign Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations, 1998. ↩
Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius, Book III, chapter I. ↩
Giulio De Ligio, “La rivelazione pandemica e la vita comune: pensare la politica nel “mondo di domani”, pag. 37, in Dopo. Come la pandemia può cambiare la politica, l’economia, la comunicazione e le relazioni internazionali. ↩