A prominent Iranian philosopher says not everything will return to the previous state when the coronavirus pandemic is over.
“If COVID-19 is gone, it is unlikely to return so soon; but one should be awaiting COVID-20 and other versions of COVID, and perhaps the chain of infections will keep going on,” said Dr. Reza Davari Ardekani.
He made the comment during his speech titled “Philosophical Deliberations on Coronavirus; A Philosophical View toward Consequences and Disadvantages of Coronavirus” at a virtual meeting on the human-social dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Coronavirus has, so far, been the source of detrimental effects and harm in our country and across the world, and more repercussions of the outbreak could emerge in the future,” said Ardekani.
“It is also said that Coronavirus has come to expedite the trend of the world’s collapse,” he added.
“Although some expect to see countries’ political systems undergo adjustments for the good of the public, what has actually happened so far are scourges such as a rise in the number of unemployed and hungry people, anxiety in the production economy, a sort of uncertainty in international economy, the shutting down of religious practices, and people being forced to stay at home, people who could barely stand being alone.”
“Of course, one should not forget the beautiful scenes of popular groups [helping fight the virus] and the sacrifices of doctors and nurses,” he said.
“As for political and social developments, most predictions indicate that it is not clear what will become of the world after the coronavirus pandemic is over,” he says.
“Some changes related to the principle of democracy should take place, especially in developing countries, so that many of neoliberal policies will be somehow adjusted, or, at least, all the fuss in the age of neoliberalism will somehow subside. Unfortunately, coronavirus is unlikely to be content with these changes because it might be targeting the world order,” he said.
“Renowned experts such as Jurgen Habermas and Noam Chomsky, who have moral interests, hope the coronavirus pandemic will bring to light the fact that people in developed countries in Europe and the United States are defenceless, democracies are a sham and governments are unable to deal with scourges and disasters,” he said.
“They are optimistic about future and don’t rule out the possibility that the world might move toward favarouble democracy,” he added.
“As mentioned before, their desire is likely to be fulfilled; but whatever change takes place, will be transient because a world which is fast approaching nihilism can hardly move toward reforms,” he added.
“The current world system is against nature. During Coronavirus tests, it was revealed that governments’ power was just a show in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, it is not unlikely that governance in some countries will move toward democratic socialism, and as there is no democracy, the government will get more radical,” he noted.
“But the incidents mentioned above do not amount to a change in world order because the world order is ruled by some regulations to which even natural disasters cannot make direct changes,” he said.
Is Coronavirus Pandemic A Wake-up Call?
“We don’t know why all or most people pay more attention to the direct effect of the coronavirus outbreak, and why no one regards this disaster (which is markedly different from all epidemics and pandemics in the past and has now sent shockwaves across the world order) as a sign of a major danger and the disruption of the world order?” he said.
“When an order collapses, either another order should replace it or chaos takes hold,” said Ardekani.
Significance of Origin of COVID-19
He then touched upon what possible stance pharmaceutical companies might adopt vis-à-vis the pandemic.
“What stand will major drug firms take on coronavirus? Whatever they might do, they should not be expected to conduct research on the origin of pandemics because it is a responsibility of researchers and scientists to do so,” he said.
“Among important issues in the COVID-19 saga is the origin of this disease. If we know its origin and starting point, we can guess better. One assumption is that this virus exists in the nature and has come from the nature and has gripped people’s lives,” he said.
“This hypothesis is hard to accept because if it were the case, it must have become clear by now from where and how the virus originated,” said Ardekani.
“Secondly, if it exists in the nature, why didn’t people in past times contract it?” he asked.
“Thirdly and finally, a natural issue is dependent on special natural circumstances. How can a virus which suddenly emerges, spreads everywhere in two or three months and becomes an epidemic, be natural? A stronger possibility is that the virus was produced in a laboratory or came into existence there by accident,” he noted.
“This issue is important because if the virus has a natural origin, maybe a cure will be found for it … but if its origin is nature itself, it won’t be able to tackle it and, at most, will develop a vaccine for it,” he said.
“This means we should be concerned about COVID-20,” he said.