“Back to the Roots!” Probably one of the most heard slogans coming from critical minds as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. I include myself here explicitly. And yet must this call fall short since it comes way too close to the typical politicians’ empty words. The question, thus, should be: Which roots do we want to go back to?
In the early days of Covid-19’s global spread many who, for a long time, criticized capitalism and the prevailing world order saw the dawn for a new beginning. Post-developmentalists, feminists, post-constructivists, and all their befriended schools of thoughts; if you count yourself within one of these groups or are loosely aware of their main ideas you may now be reminded of a familiar spirit of optimism. However, this feeling could not last long in a world that, after all, is characterized by realism and, more importantly perhaps, neoliberalism. Up until now, corona proved to be a mere catalyst, an accelerator, if you will, for almost any previously existing development in the arena of global and international politics and economics. Realistically speaking, and unfortunately for the vast majority of above-mentioned fellows, it appears that the time has not yet come for a fundamental change. Put differently, the world and most of its citizens do not yet seem to be ready for a restart.
What, then, are we ready for? Most of us, no matter if politically left or right, old or young, man or woman, did make it that far to question the existing world order and unveil its many shortcomings. Some even came up with the insight that blaming capitalism alone for all evils in this world is not exactly the answer to everything. This, by the way, must be the case already since finding one potential root cause for the symptoms of a disease cannot be regarded as equal to having found medication, therapy, and vaccine all at once. Another more hands-on lesson Covid-19 taught us. But this is a topic for another day.
Let us come back to the questions of what humanity is ready for and which roots it should return to. Obviously, the world long ago has become way too complex for one individual to understand, let alone change, everything that is going on. Leonardo da Vinci had outstanding skills as a painter, an inventor, a natural scientist, to name only a few. But I am truly sorry to inform you that this bright boy is not with us anymore for roughly 500 years and counting. And pardon my pessimism when I add that I heavily doubt we will meet the da Vinci of these days any time soon. Not that there would not have been or still are any smart guys around. Think of Stephen Hawking or Noam Chomsky. The thing is, though, the world we live in is ruled by buddies like his majesty The Donald. If really he has such a “very, very large brain”, why not using it for once?
All points to that we are left alone in finding out which roots we should go back to. To be completely honest with you, I do not have the answer myself. But I remember my fifth grade biology teacher telling me humankind descends from monkeys. Recently, I watched a documentary about monkeys when the so-called golden snub-nosed monkeys caught my attention. Why? The live in the high mountains of the Chinese Himalaya region where it is that cold that, would these monkeys live on their own, they would freeze to death. The only way for them to survive the iciness is to regularly cuddle as a group, to watch out for one another and take good care of their conspecifics.
And while I have to admit that I was pretty bad in fifth grade biology, after all, I do believe that if we human beings would only slightly return to our very biological roots when our forefathers and -mothers seemed to know better than we do how crucial it is to be better off in togetherness and unity. Call me naïve, but is it such a far-fetched idea?
When you agree with me, maybe do not take it too literal and give your neighbor a hug the next time you see him or her (social distancing and stuff…) but bear with others and try to make the world a better place for each and everyone of us and not just for yourself and your like-minded group of people. That very behavior lately led us to the monkey business we see on the news every day. Let’s instead start with our very own monkey business.
BA in Political Science and Arabic Studies from Friedrich Schiller University (Jena, Germany) and Panteion University (Athens, Greece)
Currently pursuing an MA in Global Studies at the Universities of Ghent (Belgium), Macquarie (Sydney, Australia) and Roskilde (Denmark)
Passionate about international relations, issues of democracy and diplomacy as well as international organizations. Mainly focussing on Europe and the MENA region