A year and a half ago, at the very beginning of the Corona crisis, our lucid mind made us believe that there were only ways out: infection or vaccination. In the summer of 2021, we will be close to this outcome and/or the herd’s immunity, at least in countries with organized health systems (I include Brazil in this list). It is time to start thinking about the future, in the post-pandemic era.
Mine is reserved, I’m a janitor at a restaurant in Zürich, I know the drains and corners that await me… but what about the collective?
Medium and long-term consequences are eagerly awaiting the temporal arrival of our community. Many are openly discussed, such as the economy, the return to social development, school recovery, and the process of maturation and experimentation of young people.
A lasting consequence that we have to face is the damage to what we usually call “society”. The res publica, the public issue that defined the self-image of the enlightened, white, beautiful, elegant, and well-groomed liberal state is disappearing as a reality and as an idea. Capitalism is sustained through hard penalties with massive support from states and nations, especially in Latin America and Europe. The pandemic worked as combat, whereby several attacks on institutions took place from inside to outside.
The simple notion of what “working” means (the basis of the liberal system) was changed completely, simply “working” during these last 14 months gives us an idea of how the lack of life practice and the loss of status deconstructed certain concepts behind “working” concept, the potential for individual recognition and identification, through a work-related social identity, was dismantled, the workplace disappeared, entire professions were put on hold or annihilated.
Another lasting consequence, this more in the medium term, is the energetic search for pleasure, for a cathartic discharge that pleasantly compensates for the malaise we have suffered in these 14 months. The enthusiastic return of samba and cold beer.
This post-pandemic hedonism finds many convincing justifications for its model of life in the individual and collective rationalizations that we delusionally create with each new vaccinated person.
It arises from an internal battle that needs to be understood.
First, there is a collective state of mind with which citizens have had two contradictory experiences during the Corona crisis. On the one hand, Corona proved its authority, it showed that we are nothing, insignificant in our powerful war jets and fabulous aircraft carriers, in our political ideologies and libertarian consensus. On the other hand, bans on trade and meetings, curfews, and dress codes – all correct, such as emergency decrees, deep violations of fundamental rights, were applied overnight without significant resistance. And so it must be, in that case, and only.
Here, the massive superstructures of power, the state, the colossal machine of control and vigil, have demonstrated their sovereignty. At the same time, the state suffered a huge loss in its microstructures. And, it is in these microstructures that it connects with the population. Its employees are also the population as if the fingers of the hand were part of the fruit that is insured and not part of the hand, these employees also retreated, feared, felt insecure, and were victims and spokespeople of failed and hindered policies.
The state must take this loss as soon as possible.
In countries where political communication has avoided appealing to shared responsibility, where governments out of populism or sheer stupidity have not taken on that responsibility, the price has been high. And I don’t mean Brazil and India exclusively.
The state has made no promise to balance interests and protect the weak. The state was and remains a coward and corrupt. Previous generations saw crises and disasters as an opportunity to promote national solidarity and create a sense of unity. This time the state disguised it, openly defending big capitals to the detriment of individuals.
In this pandemic, this has never been a strategic objective. There was no compassionate communication. It was not considered necessary to bring concepts such as harmony, community spirit and care to the discussion. Politicians feared the financial and social obligations that this would entail. They chose to divide, generate conflict and controversy, in order to conquer and plunder in the post-crisis.
The result was a cacophony of fake news to stupidity, in a violent dispute between the federal, state, municipal, scientific, and WhatsApp rednecks, as well as organized civil society. Stuck in their corrupt and power-hungry logics, governments delegated their responsibilities ever more slowly until they finally landed at the feet of the individual citizen: without the masks and our bottles of disinfectant we would be totally hostage to the virus.
We survived the pandemic god-god
Restrictive measures are being eased, so hedonists will rush out in search of their pleasures. From its religious services to 48-hour electronic parties, catharsis calls on the body to spend the accumulated acids and amino acids in each of the billions of axons.
But, if the state as an institution administered by politicians failed, why think about society when politics also forget the collective? Recalling that this collective is represented in the state exactly by political thieves, stupids, and populists elected by society, by the collective.
So why blame the hedonists if they took care of themselves radically (or not) during the chaos and survived? This hedonic explosion would also not be a celebration for having remained. Those who allow themselves to satisfy their own personal pleasure and well-being, from the Mass of the Cock to the cock on the beach, need not fear a heavy conscience. Celebrate, exalt yourself, enjoy yourself
Appeals for moderation lack credibility because they are issued by the state that has been failing globally for 14 months. Why should anyone take the collective into account when even politics (the greatest of collective acts) failed to address this collective and common interest during a pandemic? Saving the big conglomerates was the first act, after all, it was time to invest in big conglomerates to get vaccines to open the circulation of the public and save the economy. It was never the individual.
But we will not survive man
As a counterpart to the hedonists, the ascetics (in which I include myself), it is precisely this collective impotence that is the first article of the internal constitution, to control oneself in the face of all the demands of the thirsty body in view of the future and the global.
The tasks are unambiguously listed: global warming must be slowed down, nature must be protected from the human, the relentless access of humans to the planetary reserves must be closed and the planet must be saved from total destruction, starting with nature, and the animals, then the children and only finally the adult humans and well combed.
But as the ascetics lacking collective strength, always inmates and meditators, the task never engages the collective of society but remains to hover over each individual touched by these little-market ideas. You don’t get pasta when your logo is beige, your food is gluten-free and salt-free. From individual impotence to collective effectiveness – this is ascetic self-empowerment, a little paradoxical, I recognize (come on ascetics, more creativity, and hedonism to seduce everyone).
Our instrument is moving away from the world, and that means moving away from meat and oil. These two ingredients of the capitalist lifestyle must be abandoned. Ascetics move away from the temptations of this world and rely on supernatural rewards in return (a connected universe). The next generations will benefit from the restrictions, as the planet will survive man.
However, ascetics will not benefit directly. This lack of recognition must be compensated: through a greater sense of mission and the consolidation of one’s own identity through the condemnation of those who do not follow the ascetic ideal. Here again, asceticism tends to be radicalized. This is your main danger (besides the annoyance, I assume).
Do not believe????
Think of a simpler concept: This ascetic that I describe here, is the one who gives up in favor of the collective. Doctors, doormen, nurses, bus drivers, collectors, supermarket cashiers, pharmacy clerks, social workers, among others, those whose profession (or social work) is above themselves. Professions that in some cases lost up to 20% of their workforce to the virus.
Following the discussion
Let’s go further. The pandemic once again demonstrated the primacy of the economy over individuals in the state’s predilection. In contemporary society, political upheavals over the past twenty years have been extensive and prove just that point. September 11, 2001, the banking crisis of 2008, social transformation through digitalization, and now the pandemic – there was no stone left unturned in any of these crises. And I only listed global crises that I remembered quickly, but also think of intracontinental crises, national crises. There are countless times when the economy collapsed and was saved by the state at the expense of its individuals. People are homeless, but the stock exchange is redeemed as a greater good.
“On the other hand, nothing has changed in the basic order, more than that, it has been achieved. Whatever happens, the rich have become richer and social inequality has increased. This gives rise to the gospel of the total economy: empires can collapse, only the power of capital is reliable, that is the only salvation ”. And don’t ask, I won’t quote the source.
The pandemic will leave big holes in public finances. The coming years and decades will be marked by a relentless distribution war, nationally and globally, the logistics of income will be a terrible dance. The priority of large capitalists is entirely protected in this logic. Every effort should serve the goal of taking the largest piece of cake possible. Assets have long been valued and when they fall, the state compensates for the loss by using the massive fortune generated by individuals who earn better environments to work harder and be able to collect more taxes (when corruption does not also eat environments).
Lose education and performance, gain capital and property. Wealth is only found, won, bought, no longer produced, it is digitally mined. Meritocracy, in which achievements and merits lead to social advancement, soon belongs as a nostalgic memory in the poetry album of the history of the middle class that continues to live a 60’s Victorian or American fairy tale.
Post-pandemic hedonism, the new asceticism, and the capitalists: these three projects are not opposites, they are mutually dependent.
All capitalists will deliver goods to hedonists to satisfy their lust. At the same time, hedonists empower those capitalists who have ideals and goals, but unfortunately do not have the means and, therefore, have to plow to develop themselves into a life alternative that is always available. The price of this is bank debt – the first means of financing consumption. The old Marxist cycle.
In comparison with economic production, in Switzerland (a rich country, but small and with little raw material), for example, private debt is twice as high as in the euro zone. And there is no reason to suppose that this is going to change. Hedonists love credit cards. But they also produce good. They provide ascetics with a scary and meaningful example. Only the irresponsibility of the hedonists gives internal stability to the ascetic plane of existence.
While hedonists obtain the cheapest loan contracts, all capitalists trade online and ascetics furnish their small homes with recycled things.
And everyone carefully cultivates their neuroses and fantasies of identity territory.
They are surprisingly similar in one thing: They all think they define themselves without society. Participating in society, being part of the collective is not an option for any of the three, not wanting to. Society is bad.
A citizen identity would undermine your own self-confidence. You don’t need the state or the public. And every day they continue to work to strengthen their individual identity and to break their social identity, the fabric soon breaks, then we will see the biggest long-term consequence.