What the COVID-19 crisis reveals (1/5)

COVID-19 has acted as a huge storm, a tsunami, or even a “big bang #2”. In fact, the longer it takes to address this crisis, the more we harm people’s health and their energy.

Let’s be clear, we have to take this pandemic more seriously. And, after almost two years into the crisis, there is only one way to get through it. We have to start a whole redefinition work, starting from the root causes. But, change won’t happen overnight: “Leaders are only addressing the symptoms, not the root causes, of the coronavirus pandemic”. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), from July 2021. And, four months after? We continue to notice the same behaviour.

In this first chapter, my aim is to expose my analysis of the silent transformations, that occurred below the surface of perception, and the root causes. In five blog posts, this will constitute the unavoidable preamble to the necessary transitions, which I will share with you at a later stage.

Our humanity has never been in a better place to offer a positive contribution to this world. These are promising times. So, tell me, what prevents us from becoming the exceptional civilisation our planet needs?

1/ Leading politics in times of enlightenment

Today’s easy access to the Internet and social networks has made some of us more knowledgeable and powerful than ever. As a result, we are more and more wanting to transcend our limitations. In fact, we constitute a new life-affirming civilisation, that wants the co-authorship of our common future.

For example, this growing population can present the following behaviours and emotions:

  • We may demand that our current leaders stop directing, treating us like children, or holding on to power;
  • We may also call for less bureaucracy, injustice, or dehumanisation;
  • Finally, we can get irritated by lack of ownership, transparency, and authenticity.

The result if we do not get listened to, can be a lack of trust to follow the decisions. It can also create inner conflicts which are blocking appropriate action. Unfortunately, the logical consequence is a collective limitation of our capacity to heal.

Today’s civilisation might not be so easily led as in the past, but do not get confused, we are not radicals either. We too, want to avoid as much as possible hubris and pain. In fact, it only seems normal for us, as responsible human beings, to question reality and to expect to join forces for a better future for the next generations.

Ultimately, the risk if we do not change the way we do politics in times of enlightenment, is to have more violent wake-up calls in the future than a prolonged pandemic. “It is a common fault of men not to reckon on storms in fair weather.” Niccolo Machiavelli.

2/ A marginalised periphery

Another key silent transformation is the marginalisation of the periphery from democracy. These are the people, who do not find comfort in the current system. For instance, the notion of ‘essential workers’ during the pandemic has revealed that those whose work is considered essential are often among those who are least well-paid. Or, it has been a youth, then elders, women and migrants, who have paid the highest cost, while the wealthy population has continued to get even more comfort.

In fact, in our various crises, the so-called minorities suffer the most from the decisions of our government institutions, which often focus on the needs of those who are politically active or aware. This is a real threat.

There is another issue with this population in particular, and it concerns the widespread lack of critical thinking. This has led to communications by public administrations facing challenges from dis/misinformation, sometimes propelled by celebrities. And as the crisis continues to hit them even more, it has led to “blind” followership, on campaigns with which they would fundamentally disagree in normal circumstances.

Yes, our times call for specific measures to marginalised communities (especially women and youth). In particular, with them, we need to avoid the fallacy of centrality (i.e. “since I don’t know about it, it must not be happening”) because the periphery is the place where the energy lies for the change. A logical consequence of this mistake could be the emergence of more angry groups. They would express in various ways their intense suffering and sadness in the face of the unfolding planetary crisis, as well as other social, economic, health, digital, education, geopolitical crises.

3/ A mostly digital world

The abrupt digital transformation as governments around the world imposed nationwide lockdowns has probably been the most radical and unexpected transformation to those who were disagreeing with this foresight. In a way, this shift has proved how adaptable people can be, and the impact new, collective habits can have on our environment. For instance, when moving away from the physical world, we saw the impact on traffic, noise, and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as weather conditions. For the first time in decades, Indians could even see the Himalayas from afar.

The “mostly digital” world had other consequences. It blurred the limits between our professional and personal lives. It seems as well to have released an authentic desire to close the distance within families and to self-organise in communities.

Yet, if there is real potential in online tools, there are also threats, which we must tackle urgently. For instance:

  • Younger generations seem to be guinea pigs in a digital world, which is full of commercially-driven temptations. Clearly, we lack a framework to protect people in such environments, comparable to the one we have in the physical world (that we need to improve as well as we will see in later posts).
  • There is also a concern that only a few technology companies dominate this world, having access to everyone’s identities, knowledge, and experience. And as they continue to develop their power with the data, there is a growing perception of collective powerlessness, which may be another factor leading to an overall feeling of mistrust.
  • Finally, there is a need to assess the costs of the digital shift in the context of the green deal. More and more evidence is proving the harm of many routines on the environment, such as the avalanche of e-mails that replaced physical meetings.

To be continuedIn the meantime, I invite you to go deeper in the knowledge by watching this video “Who Really Controls our Lives?, a powerful conversation with me, Anasuya Sengupta, Evan Steiner, Matt Prewitt and Obhi Chatterjee.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com


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