Letter from Italy about #Coronavirus emergency

| March 8, 2020

The virus and the fear of death

The carousel of modernity has stopped turning. The virus shakes the rich world with fear. It is fear of death that the human being tries desperately to remove from their life. Keeping busy, distracting, stuffing our life with any sort of futility and drugs, writes Tommaso Merlo of Milan, Italy.

A perennial escape lasting since decades in the rich world. Because wars and tragedies affecting the planet are distant and with time the rich world has deluded itself to be invincible and eternal. Then comes a virus. Microscopic, silent. And in a few days everything blows up and we discover ourselves fragile. Physically but above all inside. We find ourselves mortal and all that surrounds us suddenly loses meaning. The vain dreams of glory, the rivalries and the wars with which we intoxicate our lives, status and illusions made of stuff, money, power, success to be conquered at any cost. Running, head down.

“Sister Death,” said Saint Francis, patron saint of Italy. Because he saw God everywhere, even there. Because he felt love everywhere, even there. But religion or personal faiths have nothing to do with it. Death affects us all as human beings. Regardless. And treating death as a “sister” instead of ignoring it and removing it from our life, would help us to face emergencies such as the one in progress more serenely, but not only that.

It would encourage us to reflect on who we really are and ask ourselves about our behaviors and the meaning of our life. It would help us to stop clogging our life with nonsense, to compete as puppets, to be manipulated by false messiahs or futile mirages. It would help us to conquer a more authentic life, more tailored to us and therefore happier. Fear can only be overcome by facing it. Even that of death. Modernity is ruthless and gives no respite. Crazy rhythms, infobesity, oceans of vanity that do nothing but widen the sense of emptiness and bewilderment. Souls are polluted like the air we breathe.

But the human being is not only a victim, he is also guilty, and this is because out of fear or hypocrisy he chooses to be dragged into the vortex of modernity and then life passes by making excuses. By binding hands and feet with responsibilities and constraints that are actually choices, roles that are actually masks, certainties that are actually obtuseness or points of view, stuff and things to do that are actually nothing. The human being chooses out of fear or hypocrisy to be carried away by the flock and even worse by the tantrums of his ego.

An ego increasingly spoiled, increasingly insatiable and voracious. Because it is never enough for us. Never. Nothing. The virus is stopping the frantic carousel of the rich world. It is forcing us to slow down the pace, to lower the volume, to spend more time with our loved ones but above all with ourselves. A historic opportunity to ask certain questions, to face the fear that afflicts us and heal our lives. Because only in this way will we heal the world.


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Category: A Frontpage, coronavirus, EU, Health, Italy

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