Emerging New Forms: Realities Recognized with the Pandemic

Necdet Subaşı
Ministry of National Education, Advisor to Minister

The global COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly started to change the familiar rhythm of everyday life. We are not struggling to adapt to new ways of living, patterns, and forms. Severe pressures are constantly shaping the normal flow of human relationships.

The announcement made by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, signaled the collective quarantine process caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would now take on a different form in the world. Pressure of the pandemic, which rapidly made its impact felt at national and international levels, wasted no time in occupying an effective place within everyday life with a wide range of attacks that openly threatens states, peoples, and certain lifestyles.

The threat is not limited to ordinary and customary fear; on the contrary, it has gained a power that proves it is a phenomenon that it is itself destructive and lethal, not only for individuals but also for politics, economics, belief systems, and areas of thought. 

The Severe Pressures of the Pandemic

The outbreak has had a similar impact across the world, resulting in comparable outcomes. The pandemic’s ruthless pressure has ultimately condemned everyone to wear masks, staying at home, and living in isolated and hygienic environments. It has led to an unprecedented increase in the clarity and intensity of the fear of death, as well as its normalization in daily life. As the realms of meaning are being reconsidered, the value of given paradigms has rapidly come into question. Death, contrary to general expectations, has become quite routine; this has accelerated the emergence of profound and extraordinary questions about the meaning of life, our relationship with the universe, our perspective on nature, and how reciprocity between belief and life should continue from now on. Undoubtedly, the life perspectives and future imaginations that the process has not struggled to influence will have to be reconstructed in light of these developments. 

The pandemic’s borderless impact, along with its pressures that inevitably equalize almost everyone in terms of its consequences, made it possible to reassess certain established assumptions and attitudes. These panicked quests, driven by philosophical and intellectual concern, can no longer be sustained without taking into account the existence of COVID-19 in a substantial way. In fact, the pandemic is now unhesitatingly making itself felt as the new nature of reality in a concrete manner. 

The horror created by the pandemic has disrupted the rhythm of daily life with its impact on almost every individual, while also leading to the compression and questioning of fundamental reference points that are frequently turned to in coping with such severe interventions. For those who have had to overcome the problems experienced in the face of the anxiety and panic generated by the outbreak, this situation has provided an opportunity for new vital problems to emerge in ways that have never been seen before. The question of how the language flow through which the fear of death surrounding everyday life can be rationalized in a certain way against the relentless progress of the virus, and how the disrupted balance of historical, social, religious, and cultural relations between people can be restored with what spiritual or social capital, is still prevalent and not only humans but also the reference points that construct their knowledge worlds seem to be quarantined together. 

Extraordinary Results 

It would be appropriate to remember the unmeasured relationship between humans and nature in the analysis of the extraordinary results that have emerged and will continue to emerge in this challenging process. The effort of knowledge and control, which has been observed in contact with nature and particularly spread over the last two centuries without arrogance and compassion, has ultimately accumulated new burdens for our world that sustains itself on a balance. It is sad that today, instead of the spiritual/traditional perspectives that unquestionably perceive nature as a trust in any case and deepen their connection with it based on spiritually, we are compelled to surrender to a different mentality that tries to hostage nature in a quite reckless manner within a progressive perspective. It is evident that the respectful closeness established with nature since ancient times has been disrupted by interventions aimed at disrupting its natural selection in today’s world. 

On the other hand, it is not possible to participate in a collective effort to overcome the global pressure generated by the pandemic calmly without excluding the contributions of science, religion, and cultural traditions. This also necessitates reevaluating these areas of contribution with new forms of knowledge, understanding them, and testing them once again in the face of life.

A notable debate, discussion, and learning about how the future world will be/should be has started to manifest itself with an attempt to consume the day with a familiarity that is not unfamiliar with the fluidity that does not allow much opportunity for it. Contrary to the main eschatological theses that suggests the end of the world, we are facing an extreme existentialism that ignores the sense of finality. It is difficult to predict the direction of the new mental state deliberately and willingly excluded from religious and cultural reference codes in terms of future design. 

It is quite possible to foresee on what competencies a mindset cycle that tries to supposedly update yesterday’s weakening theses and arguments with rushed compensatory programs will rely on to meet the world of tomorrow. It is clear that there is a real delay in establishing contact with the superior language produced by those who evaluate the costs of the process without all these mediocrity and banality. The attention that avoids understanding the process correctly and testing the existing knowledge with provocative and profound questions about the future of human condition is at risk of succumbing to new times. 

Revived Disciplines

The outbreak has not struggled to activate a new sociology, psychology, and even theology within its own reality. As society is rebuilt once again, the value of existing data and qualifications is disregarded, and there is a strange sense of uncertainty about which existential codes a new form of understanding will operate on. The stagnation in human relationships has quickly triggered a sense of contentment. The older generations, who prefer to revolve around a strong nostalgia for remembering the past, focus on the value of managing the present day, while the younger generations, having surrendered to the impositions of this suddenly emerging situation, seek ways to find life within a different normality. Being together, deepening conversations, touching one another, or staying in communication can now be experienced only at the back of our minds, accompanied by a feeling of death and fear. Anxiety is intimidating, and uncertainty becomes a powerful force in spoiling the enjoyment of life.

Virtual platforms have emerged as impressive means of reaching people. Scientists, writers, intellectuals, preachers, and charismatic figures tirelessly engage in creating their virtual audiences through various channels. Social media and digital platforms waste no time in producing their own pedagogies. An information flow that goes beyond the sharing of educational units engages both the truth and false, making them part of the conversation in this context. Now, everyone opens a new window for themselves by ignoring the fact that they are prisoners in their own homes, and in every possible medium where they can reach others, they experience the anxiety of circulating their messages with the accompaniment of digital media. People are either talking or listening. Thanks to these programs, many individuals have no difficulty in determining their own pleasure quotas or systematizing a satisfying flow of language. Today, for people who were previously restrained in the ordinary course of life under different circumstances, new channels serve the same purpose. However, with an irreversible loneliness progressing towards it, digital platforms bring a different style of living.

Many individuals now struggle to keep up from one conference to another. The hustle and bustle within homes implies that everyone has something to share. Dozens of people who manage to fit on screens believe that they have the competence to convince each other with argument sets that they think are loyal to the values of the old world, and they need preaching, guidance, and announcements. There is a serious delay in paying attention to what sociology, psychology, and ethnomethodology promise to emerge in the new area. It seems that there is no chance of integrating tested knowledge of the past into the flow of a changing life. Yet, what is experiences is both a new fate and an extraordinary reality with no equivalent in history. A new morality and value flow that does not need the help of theology is striving to cover life by strengthening itself. A personality pattern that has already challenged individuality trapped within theories is gaining vitality, revolving around its own existence, and is poised to change the course of all human relationships.

Finding Oneself 

The new era has also created a fertile ground for a more productive questioning and self-reflection on confronting oneself and finding meaning in one’s existence. Isolation, staying at home, and the conceptualization of a new sense of time have opened the door to profound questioning and searches for the meaning of life, which are shaped by philosophical, intellectual, and religious thoughts and have become influential. The question of whether the pain and suffering experienced during this process, which increases the possibilities for introspection about human limits and conceptions of God, is a divine punishment or a test has accelerated the efforts of ‘thinking and focusing on oneself and God’ that have long been neglected. Additionally, with great concern, it can be said that there will be a more energetic pursuit of ‘truth’ in terms of re-examining the unique helplessness faced by humans today, independently of modern discourses that have not hesitated to establish a connection with nature.

We no longer live in a constructed world of fantasy literature but under the embrace of genuine reality, and it must be acknowledged that we are integral part of the risk society. Fears, anxieties, loss of meaning, and the search for solace are now part of the ordinary flow of life. Religions, philosophical systems, and intellectual endeavors are hosting interconnected thoughts for the first time on how this process will ultimately result in favor of humanity.

In a time when interpersonal relationships are increasingly narrowing, this process has been a significant beginning for rediscovering and remembering each other. In a way, it was inevitable for a way of life that did not seek each other and had become overly confident in personal competence within the tools and apparatuses of the new world to encounter such a severe trial. Indeed, significantly unequal ways of life have found an opportunity to reintroduce themselves within the heavy cost of death and deprivation brought about by the pandemic, which has spread unequally. It should be emphasized that the difficulties experienced by those who have been left behind have triggered empathy processes that cannot evolve into mere literature. The poor, the elderly without access to medical treatment, children coping with loneliness, immigrants, and those facing violence or being a substantial part of war have created significant opportunities for us to understand and feel the urgent aspects of the human condition. It is evident that everyday life practice, which has turned its back on solidarity, support, and collective progress, is compelled to change in the face of needs that value these aspects. So much so that the pandemic period can be said to have provided highly instructive opportunities for people to realize that their lives can never be unique without others. 

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