2020 is the year we will never forget. She reminded us that history repeats itself, and no matter how civilized, technologically and scientifically advanced a society may feel, unwavering in its ideas of progress, it can return to situations it has left behind and remembered only in novels, works of art or movies.
Today, however, this is not like the pandemics in history, because it occurs in different conditions. Some science fiction paintings came to life without holding the reins of the driving forces at all.
While at the end of 2019 I had made a plan for all sorts of trips around the world, which I had no patience and no doubt would happen, in early 2020 I realized that one should not have big plans in an extremely unpredictable world claiming to be such. Nothing seemed to frighten or straighten our hair – not the looming environmental threat, not the appearance of Donald Trump, not the brutal exploitation of people in the world, not the cynicism of big corporations.
In a world driven by the instrumentalized notion of scientific and technological development, it was believed that technological and scientific progress would lead to the creation of a perfect society based on the thesis that the globalized world represents the highest stage in the development of human civilization. But the sudden appearance of the coronavirus seems to have ruled out this sure scenario.
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The months I had to spend on a journalistic exchange in Beijing earlier this year, I spent at home, closed, worried, frustrated, and angry in a space that had never been a place I stayed too long. I was angry that I couldn’t live the way I wanted to, that I didn’t set the rules, that life was reduced to its biological dimension, and that an extrovert like me had to be locked up. The most irreconcilable blow was that from people with desires, interests, hobbies, plans, we eventually became a total biomass.
The helplessness that the power over yourself has already shifted from your own hands and belongs to someone else creates a feeling of helplessness and meek rage, where the elusive present causes a particularly minor resignation. The energy boils inside, the desires increase, the fantasies that remain the only hope for survival, but coming out of this imaginary world, you quickly realize that you have to keep waiting.
I released covid-19, which was supposed to bring some reassurance. Maybe it brings some, but really what is changing? Spending the virus, in addition to giving antibodies for a while, does not launch you into space at a special party with selected citizens of the world who have successfully passed this modern test for superhumans.
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While carrying the virus, I often dreamed that I was traveling, that I was attending huge mass events with a lot of people, music and neon cocktails, book premieres, performances, exhibitions: absence from home for at least a few days. The dream did not have an exact geography, it was everywhere. What you cannot achieve today because you have a predetermined trajectory of where, how and when to walk.
I admit, despite the great exhaustion, these dreams gave me great strength. In them I even chose the dresses from the wardrobe, which otherwise I had nowhere to wear. There was no point in them either. You have fun in your sleep, then you wake up – and you realize the situation – you are sick, you are locked up, you move in a walk between several rooms and you wait to re-enter a fantasy in which your heels are injured by dancing and your suitcases are broken by travel. And all this time, Facebook was advertising to me new marketing tricks of the cosmetics industry: makeup with a long-lasting effect under a mask.
In a world driven by the instrumentalized idea of scientific and technological development, it was believed that technological and scientific progress would lead to the creation of a perfect society based on the thesis that the globalized world represents the highest stage in the development of human civilization. But the sudden appearance of the coronavirus seems to have ruled out this sure scenario.
Thinking about what the images of 2020 would be like, I came across a difficult answer. At least ambiguous. People lying on their couches, cooking people who have discovered their new skills, training at home, struggling doctors on the edge of their strength, reports of deaths every day, discarded masks on the streets, reports of dying people in ragged pajamas on the stairs of our hospitals surrounded by plastic bags, bottles and confused, wandering staff, empty cinemas, missing events, theater at 30% capacity, people with masks, people without masks, believing in the virus, denying the virus, waxers, anti-vaxers.
This pandemic has infinitely many images: images of reconciliation, images of resistance. But none of them can fit into a general account of her. The experience of such is torn by insurmountable asynchronous phenomena and concepts that accompany it or attach to it.
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Crises always create some emblematic images, thanks to which societies manage to fit into them and overcome them. This pandemic has so many images that it still seems vague and still unreachable, somehow distant. Our explanation in images of her still cannot be expressed.
In her book, Disease as a Metaphor, the American theorist Susan Sontag describes how AIDS and cancer create not only health but also sociocultural discourses, stigmatizations and political ideologies. In the beginning, AIDS was a stigmatizing disease that was unnamed, that had to be avoided, and the patients themselves often did not have the word, they were silent, they had to be ashamed.
According to Sontag, the metaphorical language of various diseases, its political and medical answers are inextricably linked. If in AIDS the leading thing is the shame of the patient because of his sexual life, then in the case of the plague the metaphor was similar, the patient was “punished” and the disease “chose him”.
In The Plague, Albert Camus writes: “But what does the plague mean? This is life, this is everything! ”
In an era of social media, Trumpism, portals, websites, forums teeming with all sorts of false theories, Sontag may have felt relieved in the hegemony of only the national media that ran the airwaves and the press in the 1980s. She would probably be just as frightened by the scale of the spread of false information as by the disease and its social metaphors.
Staff at London’s Courage’s Anchor Brewery are being vaccinated against the flu with a new type of syringe. January 2, 1968 (Photo: Getty Images)
This current pandemic in the pan-media era raises fears of a new kind of war, which includes both public health and the struggle for objective reality. The situation in the last year has drawn our attention not only to our personal behavior and ability to understand what we need to do, but also to the importance of our life in the team. It is important because if the collective does not know how to act in synchrony, if there are no connecting elements in it, if it is thrown into different worlds of closed communities, then their own efforts are meaningless and they have no effect.
The cohesion of a society is due not least to the fact that one agrees to fight what he sees as a problem – a crisis, a catastrophe or an apocalypse. But that’s exactly what doesn’t seem to be happening right now. What is a problem for one person, it turns out, is not for another. Some see a crisis, a catastrophe, the end of the world, but a large number do not see such pictures in their own projection.
May 23 – Berlin: Protesters against government measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus. The poster reads: “Truth will win. Peace will reign. Love will triumph. Freedom! ” (Photo: Getty Images)
Israeli historian Yuval Harari, in an attempt to understand the structure of the conspiracy theories that govern the world today and their power, writes that Nazism is such a great fake theory. This, he said, is a global theory based on an anti-Semitic lie: the conspiracy that Jewish financiers dominate the world and plan to destroy the Aryan race. Of course, they also created the Bolshevik Revolution, ruled Western democracies and controlled the media and banks. Only Hitler was able to see their infernal plan – only he could save humanity from destruction!
The lure that catches so many people on the conspiracy is that these unscientific “facts” are relatively easy to serve. They are very easy to understand, and they often repeat the same thing until their potential subscriber gets used to the fact that this is really the case. These theories provide a single direct explanation of infinitely complex processes in processes. The world is shaken by pandemics, wars, crises, these people – the conspirators – are always aware of why they started and how they will end. They always understand everything and have a clear, short and ready answer. And that calms them down. The ability of this group to see ahead in history and to create a scenario of what all of humanity expects is remarkable.
18th-century French caricature: Two men riding an ox chase a group of terrified children with a huge syringe. Original publication of “History of inoculation and vaccination as prevention and treatment of diseases”, 1800 (Photo: Getty Images)
2020 will be, apart from the year of the OFF button for life as we knew it before, except for the year when artists had to find a way to adapt quickly to the new environment, and many to lose their jobs, that is, meaning, except for the year, in which we saw that healthcare in Bulgaria is not functioning as we would like, except that we lost an awful lot of lives, as well as the year of fear of 5G chipping complete with the developed (and already appeared) vaccine against the virus.
The vaccine is not a salvation, as it has always been in history, but a threat. Conspirators also feel threatened, but not by the disease.
During the pandemic, different fears developed, which have their own different generator. Some sections of society are afraid of the virus, of the maskless driver, of losing their jobs, of lack of income, of depression, of anxiety, but others are afraid of completely different threats, as if sewn from a parallel reality.
What is the truth and who is telling it? Who do we trust? Trump? To science? For conspirators, science is the number one enemy. The vaccine, one of the main chapters in the success of the history of medical science, is currently unpopular, although nothing can dispute the fact that vaccines have eradicated classical scourges for humanity. such as smallpox and polio. Access to and rapid development of covid vaccines is a whole new dimension in the fight against today’s epidemic. And they bring hope.
Still, the emotions of 2020 will remain fear, hope and outrage – all created by different “truths” flowing from the big online pipe.
Author: Julia Vladimirova