Post Mortem

COVID-19: Dawn of a new age of reason

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/2/2020 12:42:18 PM IST

 Eight months passed-by, coronavirus (COVID-19) continues its rampage without any pause. Its momentum is on the ascent as it kills and infects millions of people across the world. For instance, in India as of today 3.31 million total number of cases have been infected whereas those died of the deadly pandemic are 60, 472.  The curve is predicted to surge in the coming days and weeks. Experts are desperately trying their level best to flatten the curve of COVID-19 by developing a vaccine. How long would it take? Answer to this question looms at large.

The scenario we live is so fluid and highly ambiguous. Everything seem to be vague and indefinite. Fearing the deadly coronavirus hundreds and thousands of people have gone to distant places for livelihood and education have fled to their native places travelling hundreds of kilometers facing numerous hurdles. Stories and testimonies are so moving and captivating. The unprecedented invisible coronavirus has brought before us many powerful images and imprints revealing and conveyingmultiple meanings that are going on inside them.

The deadly pandemic has infused such pains creating anxiety and hopelessness in our midst pushing people togo for medicationsavailable in the forms of syrups, capsules and other combinations in allopathy, homeopathy and ayurvedic pharmaceutical systems.During the pandemonium most the countries and those in the business capitalized the situation to their advantage promoting all kinds—brands all in the name of ‘corona nationalism’ having no authenticity and validity. In times of pandemic there are people who tend to exploit. 

Developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is in the processwhich would take some more time. Scientist and researchers are involved in developing a vaccine to combat the emergent virus. We live in difficult times as it is spreading its tentacles across the world inflicting massive damages to the life and livelihood of millions of people. All sorts of theories, prescriptions and political narratives surface intersecting with each other, but nothing seem to be working. Nonetheless, people want a clear message that rips open the invisibility of COVID-19.

Human tendency during catastrophes waver andthus sways to extremes desperately in order to hold on to something that offers them solace or healing or extends a handle to come out of the crisis or problem be it supernatural, medical or whatever. Now the context we are into is dictated by a global pandemic. In such uncertain and fluid times there are also people to exploit the situation by invoking holy scriptures or God or pointing to something such as persons, countries, God’s wrath, punishment or prophesizing and many other storiessuch as we are living in end times wooing people so that desperateness tends to buy such things 

Coronavirus, however, has totally changed the existing format and rubric and in the processdecimated some of the dominant assumptions, perceptions and belief-systems that used to be believed and followed during pre-COVID-19 times.  It has brought the belief systems to unprecedented levels that prompts us to ponder over.  People at large are going through harrowing times as the current pandemic is posing multiple strikes. In such a setting, we need to consider and live through the difficult times that lie ahead. People of faith look to God for divine intervention and others in pure sciences look for scientific reasons.

Perhaps we are pushed to another new age of enlightenment as the ways with which COVID-19 is challenging. Even during that period, the great thinkers of the age were forced to answer and respond to with the scientific and rational questions of their times—Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Utilitarians, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant and many others. Enlightenment gave us liberal values and cardinal principles to look into democracy, rule of law, governance, justice, freedom, equality, dignity, equity, parity, peace, love and many others.   

As we moved on higher and higher in our progress and development for which science and technology played vital roles which gave way to strict disciplinary narrowness as science became more technical and super-specialized, and technocrats started to become the driving force and thus started to sit on drivers’ seat.  Science and technology needscareful scrutiny based on candid values that addresses the larger humanity, the eco-space and the cosmos that we live and leave for the present and future generations. Science per se has higher purpose insulated with solid enlivening values.

Similarly, COVID-19 has exposed the organized religion that centered itself on creeds, traditions, doctrines, liturgy and many others leading to pseudo-spirituality and pseudo-faith. It has triggered awareness amongst the faith communities to turn to the Scriptures and to God. Adherents of faith now trying to retrieve the very meaning of ecclesia. In theological and religious circles, the axis of discussions and debates now should gear around to the notion of reasons and revelation—post-COVID-19 formulations. 

We are in a state where we cannot dichotomize—Tertullian once said, “I believe because it’s absurd”, while on the other, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard emphasized that reason must be kept aside in order to allow faith. Coronavirus has brought these two vis-à-vis faith and reason, science and religion to a state of animated suspension. It has brought these two entities to a level that allows each other to complement one another without which the existence of one depends on the other—loses its relevanceand thus suffer and certainly gets affected.

COVID-19 has triggered us to see the co-relation and connections between faith and reason. Both have their purposes and so we are pushed to see the intricate fusion as reason can provide the knowledge of God based on the nature of the universe and human moral experience which could perhaps be termed as ‘revelation’. Therefore, reason and faith have relational functionalities which could be viewed as they are entwined with each other. 

Today, COVID-19 has pushed us see a bigger picture from which we are guided by universal   and integrated rationality with a collective humanity and even spirituality. If we do not see the connectivity and integrity of these two, we would be pushed to a difficult future and to pull out from that by them would be too late. 

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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