We all know that smoking is harmful, yet we smoke. We all know that processed food is bad, yet we eat it. We all know that social distancing is safe yet we are ready to kiss everyone down the street.
Therefore, why are we more attached to our way of life more than to life itself in spite of all the warnings?
The answer is simple: we are cultural beings. We live and thrive in our culture which creates patterns and habits in us. Lockdown broke societal habits and left us miserable in general. Humans are not just simple beings; they are not animals whose sole aim is survival. We don’t eat to live but we live to eat and the list goes on.
Yes, our Modus Vivendi is more important than life. We don’t just survive; we live!
For the last hundred years or more, an office was a narrow room with little furnitures, apart from a desk, chairs and maybe bookshelves, where work was done. Since the pandemic broke through, the “office” became the computer.
Work per se changed its rules. It has been stretched through longer hours, in front of a screen; a computer placed anywhere but in a conventional office.
The new normal forced people to live differently. Some liked it some didn’t. Some looked forward to go back to the office, others dreaded that moment. Lockdowns may come back again with the rise of corona cases. Will we wear the mask for few years ahead?
The striking point in all this is the unnatural life humanly speaking due to social or physical distancing. Humans are political and social animals by nature said Aristotle. This sentence has never been more accurate than these days.
Therefore, is it the end of the office? Is it the end of work and social life as we have known it?
The world is on a survival mode; on a quiet survival mode, fighting an invisible enemy by being, paradoxically, locked down. Surviving this strange war requires different strategies including new habits.
Routines from all types have become the new survival kit. Practices and immunity strengthening foods and methods are the need of soldiers who we are now. This is also a paradox since strategy and routine don’t always fit in battles. Routines should be the preparation for battles. The pandemic was predicted but little did anyone listen or care. On the contrary, we built up to failure: human concentration and massive commuting, consuming and polluting, running in circles and stressing, producing more than selling. All this frenetic hyperactivity gave birth to a hyperobject, the pandemic. And it feels we are in a hyperreality as Baudrillard points out, different from what we have been through, from what caused our current struggling.
Remember back then, routine was synonymous to boredom. Remember back then, creativity was synonymous to a great life. Remember, in Nietzsche’s words, after playing the lion for a long time, we have gone backward and become the camel instead of being the joyful child. The world danced the dance of arrogance and not the dance of joy.
Words are revelations of the thinking process. A single word can speak thousands words about a new shift of mentality. Moreover, a single word can define an era, its challenges and its bright side. 2020 is no exception: it will always be remembered as the year of the pandemic as it is its main word. Let’s check the more important words of this year.
According to a quick google search, the list is very long and obviously some words can vary from one country to another depending on each country’s problems. However the common ones are:
Pandemic (which is an epidemic that has escalated to affect a large area and population) caused by the Coronavirus, later determined as Covid19 as a new generation of the coronavirus family.
Covid19 forced the world to be in quarantine (a state of enforced isolation designed to prevent the spread of disease) which gave us later the words lockdown and curfew as governmental ways to face the spread of the virus. Speaking of which the following words are direct results of the illness whether it is symptomatic or asymptomatic. For that sake, a PCR test have to be done to make sure if one has gotten the virus or not. For all these reasons, people have to wear masks and/or face shields, respect social distancing (which is more of a physical distancing) and hygiene instructions.
The direct consequence of the pandemic was shifting the way of life to adapt to the new worldwide situation. Therefore, work became work from home or remote work (and for that sake read my previous post about this subject Why does my food taste like emails? ), teaching online and selling online. Hence the frequent usage of words like Zoom call, Skypecall, Video call.
To sum up 2020 in one concept, it is the year of Biopolitics like never before.