Governments worldwide have used the fear of the virus to legitimise fear as a social and political resource. It can hence be said that the pandemic has imposed a new social contract based on fear.
The depth of change in our world, and us in it, will depend on the length of the pandemic’s duration. The longer the pandemic lasts, the greater the change will be and the more enduring its consequences. The course of the pandemic to date has also rendered some changes visible. First and foremost, the pandemic has exposed and deepened existing social, political and economic problems in various societies. Then the pandemic globalised the entire world, reaching its furthest points and connecting all people, no longer only in dissatisfaction, as was the case before the Coronavirus appeared, but now also in fear. But if it has globalised the entire world, the pandemic has simultaneously also undermined some of the key flows of globalisation, thwarting the possibility of mass travel, whether for tourism, self-serving or for world business research, limiting or in some cases completely halting traffic.
The pandemic has complicated or completely disabled movements, without which there can no globalisation, tightened visa regimes, and made virus testing confirmations an even more important document than passports and personal ID cards. Counties have raised their borders and restored factory settings in many areas, deciding to eliminate problems under their own control of their territory and using their forces. The problems are globalised, but solidarity isn’t at all. It was difficult to imagine that European humanity, for example, would voluntarily lock itself in houses and apartments, seeking the only remaining salvation in that withdrawal and quarantine.
Although new technologies and new media retain the dimension of virtual connectivity, the Coronavirus pandemic has only uncovered an already existing pandemic of solitude. Others are no longer only hell, but rather they have become a contagion, a danger, a virus in themselves
Although new technologies and new media retain the dimension of virtual connectivity, the Coronavirus pandemic has only uncovered an already existing pandemic of solitude. Others are no longer only hell, as is said in modern existentialist anxieties, but rather others have become a contagion, a danger, a virus in themselves. With this our social and cultural dimension is undermined in a crucial way.
The often-repeated message about social distancing conflicts with the anthropological need for others, and the social need for a person in the community with others to resolve issues that concern everyone. The pandemic has proved as conducive to strengthening the cult of the state and its power, which is particularly evident in authoritarian and populist regimes. Governments worldwide have used the fear of the virus to legitimise fear as a social and political resource. It can hence be said that the pandemic has imposed a new social contract based on fear.
Some changes quickly became obvious: no travel, no conferences, no cultural and social life, no meetings. Offices have lost their importance while working from home has become an important option, just as online conferences have largely replaced face-to-face meetings. An ever-increasing part of private and business activities are being relocated to online spaces, which is practical for some things, but not sufficient or even possible for some. Circumstances have changed, while people have stayed the same. The pandemic is certainly a traumatic and epochal event, whenever it ends. We will live with its consequences long after it has ended.