Post-covid-19: what cosmology and ethics incorporate? (I)
There is a terrible fact, the systemic attack that nature is realizing against humanity with a diminutive and invisible virus that is causing great concern and taking thousands of persons to death. Facing this true human is important to know what is our reaction to the pandemic? What is this pandemic effect on us? What lesson it teaches us? What cosmology (vision of the world) and what type of ethics (values and principles) lead us to develop? Surely we must learn all that we had to have learned before and we did not. We must had learned that we are part of nature and not its “lords and owners”(Descartes). There is an umbilical connection between the human being and nature. We come from the same cosmic dust as all other beings and we are the conscious link of the chain of life.
The erosion of the “little god in the Earth’s” image
The modern myth that we are “the little god” in Earth and that we can dispose of her at our whim because she is an inert it without purpose has been destroyed. One of the fathers of the modern scientific method, Francis Bacon, said that we must treat nature as the henchmen of the inquisition treated their victims, torturing them until they gave all their secrets.
Through techno science we have carried out this method to the extreme, reaching the heart of matter and of life. This has been done with a furor without precedents to the point of having destroyed the sustainability of nature and consequently of the planet and of life. We have broken the natural pact that exist with the living Earth: she gives all that we need to live and in exchange we ought to care for her, preserving her goods and services and giving her rest to restore all that we have taken from her for our life and progress. We have done nothing of this.
For not having observed the Biblical precept of “protecting and care for the Garden of Eden, The Earth (Genesis 2,15)” and for threatening the ecological basis that sustain all life, she has counterattacked us with a powerful arm, the coronavirus 19. To face it, we have returned to the Middle Ages method that overcame its pandemics with strict social isolation. So that the frightened people, would get out to the streets, in the Munich municipal council (Marienplatz) an ingenious clock was built with dancers and cuckoos so that all would come to appreciate it, something that is still being done today.
The pandemic, that more than a crisis is the demand ofor a change of cosmology (the vision of the world) and of the incorporation of an ethics with new values, posits us this question: we really want to avoid that nature send us even more lethal viruses that could decimate even the human species? This would be one of the ten that each day disappear forever. Do we want to run that risk?
Generalized unconscious of the ecological factor
Already in 1962, Northamerican biologist and writer Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, warned: “Is little probable that future generations tolerate our lack of prudent preoccupation for the integrity of the natural world that sustains all life… The question is if any civilization can continue a relentless war against life without destroying itself and without loosing the right to be called civilization“.
It sounds like a prophesy of the situation we are living at the planetary level. We have the impression that the majority of humanity, including the political leaders, do not demonstrate enough consciousness of the dangers we face with global warming, with the excessive proximity of our cities and, especially, of the massive agro-business that advances over the virgin nature and to the jungles that a being deforested. We are this way destroying the habitats of millions of viruses and bacteria that wind up being transferred to human beings. According to serious scientists, the coronavirus would not have come though a bat from a market in China, but, simply, from nature.
In the best hypothesis, coronavirus will force us to re-invent ourselves as humanity and to remodel of sustainable and inclusive form the unique Common Home that we have. If what dominated before would prevail, exacerbated to the extreme, then we would have to prepare for the worst.
Many are announcing a new destructive austerity era in the post-coronavirus. The vultures of the past are already getting together to return to the same stuff of the past and to impede significant changes. The interests of the financial capital and the lack of a consciousness on the part of those in power and even in great part of the academic knowledge about the gravity of the degradation of nature, do not let them learn anything from the thousands and thousands of dead human beings all over the world caused by the coronavírus.
They want to return to the austerity that is a politics of opportunists, caried out by opportunists, for the bnefit of opportunists. According to CEPAL is calculated that covid-19, due to such politics of austerity worst than before, will leave 215 millions of new poor people in Latin America. (cf. Carta Maior 13/05/2020) However, is good to remember that the life system has gone though several important extinctions (we are within the sixth) but it has always survived.
Life it would seem like –allow me a singular metaphor– a “plague” that no one until now has managed to exterminate. Because life is a blessed “plague”, linked to the mystery of the cosmogenesis and to that Basic Energy, mysterious and loving that presides over all the cosmic processes and also on ours.
Is imperative that we abandon the old paradigm of the will to power and domination over everything (the closed fist) towards a paradigm of caring for everything that exists and lives (the extended hand) and of the collective co-responsibility.
Eric Hobsbawn wrote in the last paragraph of his 1995 book, The Era of the Extremes: A thing is clear. If humanity wants to have a recognizable future, it cannot be prolonging the past or the present. We will fail if we try to build the third millennia on that base. The price of the failure, this is, the alternative to the change of society is obscurity. (p.506).
This means that we cannot simply return to the situation previous to coronavirus, nor we can think to a return to the pre-iluminist past as the present Brazilian government and others of the extreme right want. (to be continued)
Leonardo Boff is an ecotheologian and philosopher who has written Option Earth: the solution for the Earth does not come from heaven, Record 2009.
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