Teachings of the Coronavirus

‘ If we open a quarrel between past and present we shall find that we have lost the future ‘ Winston Churchill

What is the future ?

The pursuit of indiscriminate economic growth has been seen as a necessity and for that matter a virtue that no country in the world has disdained. The Coronavirus has stopped that pursuit dead in its tracks. What has been the response of the Neoliberalism virus to this ? It has been to look back to things as they were before the Coronavirus struck and to project forward to a time when the Coronavirus has been tamed or brought under some sort of control sufficient to enable the propagators of the Neoliberalism virus to be back in charge of society . This is the projected future which is to say everything will go back to being just like it was before the Coronavirus struck. Does anyone actually believe this when no-one knows when the Coronavirus will have been tamed or brought under control.

Then there are our individual futures. We could call these the planned future . All those plans and aspirations big or small some of which, maybe many of them are now on hold or abandoned , or postponed to a later date, but without the degree of certainty we once took for granted in making future plans.

And then there is another future for which we possess a gift we seldom if ever recognise as real – the imagination. The imagination, if we are prepared to trust it can point us towards another sort of future. This is the emerging future. A future not coming out of the past or planned by us , but one that is coming towards us and which we can only apprehend by imagining it. In everyday life we almost never give a name to what it is that enables us to conceive of a future which is unknown and cannot be projected from the past or planned for. So for now we exist in a kind of no-man’s land between the crumbling projected future and the yet to be realised emerging future. It is inevitably a melancholic moment.

Interestingly the etymology of the verb to emerge is from the Latin emergere meaning ‘ to open to the light ‘ so with that in mind and as hard as it may seem the emerging future is a future that can be trusted.

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