Philosopher, researcher and professor at Eduardo Mondlane University, Ergimino Mucale spoke this week to the newspaper about the social impacts of covid-19. In this short interview, the Investigator presents mechanisms for how citizens can face the pandemic, and reveals some advances as a society, as some countries have done in the past centuries. However, Ergimino Mucale started by saying that social isolation and the danger of infection by COVID-19 are a great opportunity to introspect and rethink the meaning of life, the value of people and the usefulness of things.
JV: Teacher, will social isolation serve to reconnect people and strengthen these ties? Or will it weaken once and for all, with more and more people connected in the virtual world?
EM: “Certainly, some ties will come out even more fortified and others will definitely be broken. After a period of reflection, many people will learn to live intensely, to prioritize the quality of life and relationships and to dispense with the superfluous. The virtual world, until recently tended to be criticized, is gaining much more space and proving to be an effective means not only of socialization but also of professionalization ”.
JV: Isn’t it an exaggeration to say that even in economically weak countries the future will tend to be more “cyber”, cyberculture, cyber-school, cyber-work, will this weaken human ties?
EM: “Virtualism weakens human ties when it is sick, when it reveals the absence of meaning. As many sociologists and philosophers have noted, the historical moment we are given to live, whether it is called postmodern, hypermodern or transmodern, has been marked by the weakening of thinking and the liquefaction of relationships, generating an existential void. Exacerbated consumerism, including virtualism, denounces this void. The lonely cybernaut, who failed to navigate in the depths of his own being, seeks in virtual experiences a way to escape from himself, a content to fill his time and satisfy his existential hunger ”.
JV: In addition to the health issue, the coronavirus pandemic affects the routine of the world in other ways, especially economically. How can we prevent it from affecting us mentally?
EM: “The current pandemic is leaving unprecedented consequences worldwide. Even more developed countries than ours have already started taking risks in the name of the economy, even though they have reserves in the treasury. Our economy has already started to suffer from the pandemic, with thousands of people on the verge of falling into unemployment and so many others with their reduced purchasing power. This could have an impact at the family level, increasing domestic violence and divorces, as well as at the social level, expanding the possibility of the worsening of the crime endemic ”
– “The psychological impact of all this could prove to be dangerous. Even though it has no prescriptions, I assume that the measures to be taken must start from the individual dimension to the state dimension and must guarantee not only medical and medication assistance, but also material and psychological assistance. Psychological preparation is necessary to face the crisis, which may involve adopting a climate of resignation to allow an adverse and painful situation, meditation and emotional training, creating providence and a spirit of resilience and saving the scarce basic resources available; cultivation of interpersonal, family and interfamily solidarity, etc.
“The State, within its limits and possibilities, should help to safeguard jobs as well as guarantee a pension or minimum basic basket for the most needy, this involves taking more real and audacious micro and macroeconomic measures”.
JV: We have seen and reported selfish acts by many people since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the country and extreme measures have started to be taken by the authorities, be it from traders who have raised health product prices, or simply people disobeying prevention protocols . Why is the human being selfish? How does philosophy see and explain this phenomenon?
EM: “The researcher points out that there were several episodes of revelry witnessed since the Coronavirus pandemic broke out, starting, from China to Italy, from the spread of salivary droplets in public places, in supermarkets and in meters, passing, at national level, by cases you mention until we get to the case of the young patient who leaves treatment and goes to join her boyfriend in Inharrime ”.
– “These sporadic episodes reveal more than selfishness: it is despair in the face of a limit situation and it is a loss of empathy and human sense. In the case of price speculation, the desire to win at all costs is associated; it is an attitude that is not uncommon in the main cities of our country, even in times of good times and reveals not only the State’s inability to monitor and penalize, but the absence of common sense and deontology by those who practice it ”.
– “Disobedience to proto
laps can be based on a false sense of immunity, for reasons of blind faith or deficient information – some think that having suffered a lot and being a believer are sufficient reasons to be spared the disease and its effects.
– “In addition, we must remember that even in relation to HIV / AIDS, there have been situations of the same nature, including abandonment of treatment. If one can admit that there is selfishness in the price increase, the same cannot be said about the abandonment of prevention protocols. It is, in addition to what has already been said, extreme contempt for life and a suicidal and homicidal will.
-What the pandemic raises is just the opposite, more empathy and solidarity at all levels, from the individual, through the family and social to the States. COVID-19 is one of the most global problems ever and its fight, since there is no antidote, literally dependent on each and every one ”.
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