Coronavirus and social mutations
The coronavirus is causing a series of social changes and transformations which until a few weeks ago were unthinkable. The coronavirus symbolizes the paralysis of what the modern world means - capitalism, culture, freedom, democracy - and questions the human survival itself. Few would have said that this turbulent situation was going to come from the natural world, from the micro and from the invisible when we were feeding, in full view of everyone, the conditions for this to happen at the whim of some: nuclear weapons, genetic mutation, uncontrolled technology and devoid of ethics, destruction of nature, hatred and irrationality….
PARADOX. Coronavirus has taken advantage of globalization to confine human beings within four walls: This is the great movement that is taking place due to the measures that countries are imposing to fight the virus: We are all prisoners, paralyzed, deprived of liberty: they close borderlands, confined countries and cities, isolation, prohibition of all social, sport, cultural and leisure activities (theatres, restaurants, bars, parks, walks ...); we have invented teleworking because somehow we have to keep feeding the system.
House, home and family are the settings and institutions that really become important in these moments, and where we can truly take refuge.
It is a curious paradox also that the house is both the jail and the refuge.
In a few weeks we have gone from being outside to being inside, from not stepping into the house, to being confined in it, from being centrifuged to being centripetal. And from so much being outside we have get used to living on appearance, speculation, exteriority, virtuality; This virus - from seeing and hearing it so much makes it for us even familiar - has given us back reality, what matters (life), family, intimacy. And when we face this reality, it is strange, uncomfortable, and unrecognizable to us. We have to remember ourselves again and thus recover our identity.
WAR EXPERIENCE. Suddenly we have passed from a stage of peace, to a climate of war: we are undoubtedly living, feeling, experiencing an atmosphere of war: the language, the staging, the behavior in the streets, corroborate this war situation: death toll, alarm situation, confinement, isolation, institutional declarations, army and security forces bodies, struggle and final victory
Perhaps the experience of a war climate without actually having a war (in its traditional sense) is a positive experience. It can serve as a catharsis and a way to integrate the dominant emotions these days: fear, helplessness, anxiety, longing.
In the crisis that began in 2008 fear, anger and the difficulty of projecting the future were mixed, in the current situation fear, anxiety (loss of work, business, income ...) and
longing are mixed. Longing for recent times, where the welfare state was being an achievable goal, where economic recovery was sustained, where social, cultural and leisure life was a good personal, family and group investment. We look and think back to remember better times; longing is a typical feeling in war stages.
VALUES. Politicians, the media, health institutions... Are constantly calling for responsibility; it is with no doubt the most demanded value at the moment; and together with responsibility, they ask for effort, tenacity, perseverance, commitment, obligation, good sense and patience.
If we look closer, we don't talk so much about well-being, quality of life, enjoyment, fun… Overnight the values have turned around. Everything is concentrated in the lower part of the pyramid: physiological needs (the empty shelves in supermarkets and toilet paper as symbols) and health-safety (health system, health personnel, masks, disinfection ...).
We are undoubtedly beginning a stage where an advance of rationality (as understood by M. Weber) will take place to leave aside charisma and magic.
FAMILY. The intense experience of family, house, emotions and affections that this situation forces us to live, will undoubtedly provoke changes in the way and in the depth of how we see the world, society, and family. The refuse of going out, going to the bar / restaurant, playing sports or going to the theatres will easily recover when we overcome this situation, since the human being is social by nature. But the family experience will leave a deeper and more lasting ground, given the conflicts, emotions, affections and discoveries that are going to be found:
- Encounter, contact, affection and rediscovery of the family ties are going to suppose the base of the stability, the balance and the strength of the individuals and the foundation on which the society and the family of the future are consolidated. It is easy that in December there will be a significant increase in the birth rate.
- On the other hand, it will generate conflicts. The presence and continuous contact with both couple and children can bring out latent and unresolved tensions. Work, friends, social gatherings or sports are not going to serve as a parapet or an excuse. This will undoubtedly lead to an increase in separations / divorces in the near future.
- This movement of withdrawal, back to the core, to the origin is not going to be done without its significant dose of boredom: severed ties with the social and secluded in the familiar are developed, as we can verify by the media, there is an arsenal of creative initiatives and ideas to combat boredom: unusual importance of the RRSS, legends, stories, jokes, remote concerts, family and neighborhood games, platforms, cooking, opening and closing the fridge etc., etc.
Undoubtedly home, family and house is being a laboratory where emotions are confronted, creativity is experienced and a training, accommodation and flexibility exercise is carried out to face future situations.
RECOVERY OF CITIZEN STATUS. The calling for responsibility, solidarity, commitment, and exemplarity is helping to rescue the status of citizen; almost always forgotten, diluted in the empty meaning of city dweller, it now takes on an unusual importance. This is it, this crisis, challenges us in the most intimate and personal; but it doesn't stop there; crisis, difficulty and coronavirus puts us in front of the others, the neighbors, those who are in the hospitals, those who work and those who need help. This cross between responsibility and solidarity, between intimacy and the family-social sphere is what makes the word citizen meaningful.
Calling citizens, appealing to citizens is connecting the social and the intimate, responsibility and solidarity.
Mauro Gonzalez Punto de Fuga