Tomorrow Anew (FuturesWords)
A short text written for Tomorrow Anew.org – a fundraising initiative established in 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 crisis. Its purpose is twofold: 1. to collectively reflect on this situation by seeking answers to a simple yet universal question: ‘What will be different tomorrow?’ 2. to aid those who suffering from the consequences of the crisis as we speak. Organised and run by Gabriel Kozlowski, Luisa Schettino, Max Ghenis, Helena Wajnman, Maria Kozlowski, Leticia Schettino.
“What will be different tomorrow?”
There are more viruses on the planet then there are stars in the sky. These dangerous pathogens existing on the edge of life (a virus only “lives” when it enters a living cell as a parasite) have shaken the human race to the core, bullying us into a new coexistence. In our enforced hiatus, the Westernized Modernity that dominates and destroys Planet Earth circa 2020 is finally being questioned with greater urgency.
Tomorrow can look like before, but in all probability, viruses will return and we will again be thrown into the chaos of now. Experts say that it is possible the virus could take hold in a new species and build a redoubt for reinfecting people in the future. Is there a third way? Not the ignorance of yesterday or the lock-down panic of today? What does the world look like when we take into account the way a virus operates?
Like a dictator Covid-19 has immense power over people, separating families and friends, restricting freedom of movement, harming without explanation those who do not comply. It imposes new schedules, new routines, by decree. It also has deific qualities. It is invisible, not making itself known until it has been activated within us. It is mysterious, yet all-consuming in its global reach. If you choose not to believe in it, you are liable to be punished. But unlike the evangelist, it is the non-believer who spreads the widest. We are already creating new rituals for this unholy deity and soon we will create more. Spaces separated into 6ft cells, transparent borders, filtered air. One way sidewalks, designer masks. It is not a religion any sane person would be keen to join.
“Tomorrow anew” must emancipate us from this dictatorial, demonic deity and future similar outbreaks. Instead of accepting our coerced coexistence, we need to rethink the worlds we build. To start, we can learn our lessons by not invading the territory of wild animals. Or more radically, assign half the planet as off-limits and let it re-wild. We must collectively change our anthropocentric viewpoint that places us in a hierarchy above nature. It is the separating out of humans from nature that allows us to imagine nature as a ‘resource’ to be ‘exploited’. We should recognize new kinds of families, groupings and relationships with the nonhuman. Nature is part of us and we need to imagine it in a way that does not deny our place in it or the impact we have on it.
If this cataclysm has taught us anything, it is that change is possible. We can change the very idea of what it means when we say tomorrow. What it means when we say anew.