Pandemic. COVID-19 shakes the world

Pandemic. COVID-19 shakes the world of Slavoj Zizek

I bought and read this essay when it was published in May, almost at the beginning of the pandemic. I really wanted to read Zizek but I think I have made the wrong book to get closer to him. At least I hope it was the book and not the author.

My intuition told me that It was not a good idea to read a book about COVID-19 and the pandemic at the beginning of it. He had all the earmarks of being a cash picker. But on the other hand I thought that being from a well-known philosopher I would want to get something of quality. I still think that it was possible to create a good trial even in the early days of the pandemic. Although not based on what had happened, yes by analyzing different scenarios, past catastrophes, etc.

The reality is that the book has been a great disappointment that I do not recommend anyone. Almost a joke.

It was like reading Twitter. An easy book, I have read all the jokes that appeared on Twitter and with little argument more than on the social network. In truth, of the few ideas that he leaves, none are argued, he just drops them. Comments based on incorrect data, without thread, without any clear objective.

Subscribe to our mailing list

It is also true that it came from reading The freedom of Ludovico Geymonat and the difference is abysmal. In Geymonat's book you see order, structure, arguments and a clear objective of what he wants to demonstrate or reason….

To get something positive I recommend you what is the purpose of ethics?

It's just a flu

There are concepts, which he mentions in the book that right now it would be nonsense to state them as "it's just a flu." These are things that perhaps at the beginning of the pandemic could be thought to be the case. But this is the wrong approach to try to analyze a pandemic with data from the beginning of the pandemic, rather than trying to analyze ethical or philosophical problems related to pandemics and major disasters.

Nature's revenge

The message of an avenging nature, as if he were a righteous god, is very fashionable lately. That change of god by nature. And although it is true that this type of pandemic is favored by the great environmental intrusion of humans, the disease is the result of chance, accident or orange blossom. It is not a premeditated action of nature to restore balance and heal planet Earth.

This is perhaps the most disturbing thing we can learn from the current viral epidemic: when nature attacks us with a virus, it does so to return our own message. And the message is: what you have done to me, I do to you.

I stop talking about everything that I don't like and I leave as always notes that have caught my attention or that I want to investigate something.

Interesting notes


What do you mean by these memes?

Richard Dawkins has claimed that memes are "viruses of the mind," parasitic entities that "colonize" the human mind, using it as a means of multiplying, an idea that originates from neither more nor less than Lev Tolstoy.

Social ethics and care for the elderly and infirm

In short, its true message is that we have to reduce the pillars of our social ethics: caring for the elderly and infirm. Italy has already announced that if things get worse, those over eighty years old or suffering from serious pre-existing illnesses will be left to their fate. We should realize that accepting the logic of "survival of the fittest" violates even the basic tenet of military ethics, which tells us that after battle, first care for those who are seriously injured, even when the chances of saving them are minimal. To avoid any misunderstandings, I want to proclaim that I am being totally realistic: we should prepare medicines so that those with a terminal illness die painlessly, to save them unnecessary suffering. But our first principle should be not to economize, but to give unconditional assistance, regardless of expense, to those who need it, to enable them to survive.

Personal and institutional responsibility

In recent days, we have heard repeatedly that each of us is personally responsible and has to follow the new rules. In the media we find abundant stories of people who have misbehaved ... The problem with this is the same as with journalism addressing the environmental crisis: the media overemphasize our personal responsibility, demanding that we pay more attention to recycling and other issues of our behavior.

Chascarrillo on Trump and socialism

As the saying goes: in a crisis we are all socialists. Even Trump is now considering a form of Universal Basic Income: a check for $ 1000 for each adult citizen. Trillions of dollars will be spent violating all conventional market rules.

On the message of abandoning the elderly in America

The only time in recent years that something similar took place was, to my knowledge, in the last years of the Ceausescu government in Romania, when hospitals simply did not accept the admission of retirees, whatever their status, because they did not they were considered of no use to society. The message of these pronouncements is clear: the choice is between a substantial, though incalculable, number of human lives and the American (ie, capitalist) "way of life." In this election, human lives lose. But is this the only choice?

Apolitical moment

The position of those who see the crisis as an apolitical moment in which the state power should do its duty and we follow its instructions in the hope that some kind of normality will be restored in the not too distant future is a mistake. We should follow here Immanuel Kant, who wrote in relation to state laws: "Obey, but think, keep freedom of thought!" Today we need more than ever what Kant called the "public use of reason."

Bibliographic references of the book that I find interesting

  • Giorgio Agamben
  • Jane Bennett, Vibran Matter. It is called new materialists
  • Martien Mueller, "Assemblages and Actor-networks: REthinking Socio-material Power, Politics and Space", quoted from
  • Ryszard Kapuściński, The Shah or the Excess of Power, An Account of the Khomeini Revolution in Iran

Leave a comment