The coronavirus pandemic is one of those historical moments when our past, present and future seem to collide. Humanity is confronted by an ignominious death—death reduced to a statistic. The fear of dying from an invisible, unknown enemy has changed our modes of thinking, living and being, both public and private, even as lockdowns and State surveillance measures—ostensibly distancing ‘healthy’ society from the impure, ‘unhealthy’ Other—have violated fundamental human rights and liberties.
Humankind is living its kairos, its propitious moment and opportunity to take a decision—one which will impact each one of us. The pandemic has engendered a moral crisis and vacuum. Humanity has no option but to respond to the more violent consequences of the pandemic with a new moral, aesthetic and personal philosophy. To survive this, and future pandemics, we must urgently re-evaluate the basic human values on which our world stands. We must redefine freedom, the value of life and death.
It is the universal human capacity for empathy, hope and compassionate justice that enable the possibility of a common ethical world of meaning and human solidarity. And it is here that a potential future for humanity lies, suggests world-renowned philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo in The Courage to Exist. Only a morality of common humanity—valid for all human beings at all times—can redefine the art of living, in the face of a death that we all fear.
Ramin Jahanbegloo, one of the world's leading political philosophers and most widely-read authors, is Professor and Vice-Dean, Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace, O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonepat, India.
Solidarity of the Shaken
Kairos: The World After Coronavirus