NEW POST-EMERGENCY BEHAVIORS. ANTHROPOLOGY HELPS US OVERCOME THE STATUS OF EXCEPTION
A Digital Landscape by which to understand the present and reflect upon what awaits us outside home, during and after lockdown
What a party. That was our comment at the end of Logotel’s eighth Digital Landscape, at which Italian anthropologist, journalist and scientific popularizer Marino Niola made links between history, philosophy, news and information technology – all to understand the impact COVID-19 will have upon Tomorrow. Here over 100 Logotel collaborators connected to get his take on the exceptional state in which the whole world finds itself, limited to four home walls. Thought training on how different disciplinary perspectives can assist us in interpreting the expectations of society in the immediate future.
Song as language
I ponder over it and I sing. This was the title of an early 1966 show by Dario Fo that collected the popular songs of Italy to which we’ve historically entrusted our joys and sorrows. We’ve done the same thing since the beginning of the quarantine from our windows and balconies, when song re-emerged as manifestation of a vital language helping us at a time when the normality of language is suspended and existence has entered into a state of emergency. We sing against a common enemy; and here, singing doesn’t mean the suspension of thought but rather thinking in another way, with mind and heart in unison.
Words as medicine
We seek a language to help us find our way through this labyrinth of uncertainties. Institutional communication doesn’t suffice. More than ever we need to be able to trust the words addressed to us: clear messages helping us to understand, even severe messages from "father" figures who show they know how to take care of us during emergency situations. Here language assumes vital importance. It can be the medicine, just as it can be a poison.
Return to our time and return to the human
Twenty years after its prediction, the real millennium bug is COVID-19. We envisaged an immaterial virus though, it presented itself instead in the most primordial form there is: a simple, mutant parasite infecting living matter. Information technology has saved us. Thus, from apparent cause of so many ills it’s become their antibody, communication-wise, saving the wellbeing of our social and healthcare organism.
The epidemic has not only lain waste spaces and cities, but time as well, opening up abysses of temporal emptiness to be filled. Our life, compressed and hyper-connected until just a few months ago, returns to coping with our being constituted by flesh and blood. And it’s welfare, the system of good, that’s the only medicine capable of healing our mind and body.
It will be a malleable change
We are passing through a traumatic experience which will leave us wounded. Yet we will heal and bring with us the memory of the trauma. We will proceed with a different prudence and return to normal, perhaps purifying it of excesses and vanities. It were as if we’d never had time to stop and think over the past twenty years. It has been a senseless run-up that sees us fallen now, waiting to arise.
The emergency is forcing our company to upgrade in a leap over years and into the future. We shall emerge from it, yes. And we shall emerge different, we shall think differently and we shall quickly learn new forms by which to optimize our existence.