“The Gods with the Ani” of Quarantine: the recovery of the feeling of death at the time of Covid 19
Coronavirus has forced various governments to comply with new preventive measures, suddenly changing the habits and lifestyle of the countries concerned, and has led man to rediscover now forgotten psycho-cultural elements, such as the salience of mortality.
Advertising message Among the defense mechanisms of the Human Ego, the Denial of mortality has taken a leading role in today’s society, thanks to the decline of the religious sense and the greater importance given to the Image thanks to Social Media. However, with the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, the value of the human body’s fragility and sense of limit is being rediscovered.
A brief analysis of this follows on didactic and general knowledge bases.
Since its official spread, the Covid-19 virus, better known by the term “Coronavirus”, has brought about very corpulent consequences in economic, geopolitical and cultural issues (ANSA Bulletin, 2020). The virus in question, thanks to the ease of transmission and the absence of vaccines and scientific tools to combat it, which are currently under study and awaiting the testing phase (Loiacono, 2020; Ansa Bulletin, 2020), forced the various governments to comply with new prevention measures, such as maintaining the proxemic distance of one meter, the mandatory use of masks, the use of disinfectant gels as much as possible and the closure of businesses not considered necessary (Foschi, 2020) .
From the psychosocial point of view, an increase in social anxiety, mass paranoia and symptoms deriving from isolation has been empirically observed: the epidemiological level has been such that the psychiatric medical world has moved en masse to offer elements of mental prevention (Sandal, 2020). In addition, Covid-19 has had important consequences from a psychopolitical and sociological point of view, further increasing the search for security and the call for an ultra-conservative government of the Strong Man (Applebaum, 2020; Haski, 2020).
One of the psycho-cultural elements, in academic and general culture, which has received a great rediscovery as a consequence of this period is the salience of mortality. As the writer Domenico Starnone points out in his section entitled Words of March 20 (2020), one of the few positive consequences of this current period is abandoning the presumption of eternal youth: in fact, as Starnone indicates, in this twenty-year of the twenty-first century a desperate war was fought against the natural aging of the body and the sense of old age in general, above all due to the essential role of the Image in today’s society largely influenced by social media. War lost obviously in departure,
Advertising message Western culture, mainly European culture, has always had a controversial relationship with the Mortality of the Body: as the psychiatrist Vittorino Andreoli points out, compared to other cultures, the West has always tried to hide or minimize the effects of salience of Mortality through various defense mechanisms, such as its spectacularization, its denial or the creation of a religious-like afterlife in order to theoretically dominate one’s destiny (2020).
One of the main problems in knowing one’s end is due to self-awareness (Arndt, Greenberg., Simon, Pyszczynski, Solomon, 1998), given the anticipation of the Pain that it causes in one’s life and loved ones (Andreoli 2003), leading to that management of internal resources that the anthropologist Ernst Becker identified as terror theory management (1973), that is, the unconscious and subconscious denial of the notion of mortality as a survival mechanism. Survival mechanism that has evolved and changed in the various cultural and social eras of the human being, up to having a great relevance especially to the body and physical exposure required by social media (Bisceglio, 2013).
However, as the aforementioned Starnone points out, this perennial escape of man from the feeling of death will perhaps have a healthier “alt” nowadays, given the (unfortunately) witnessable consequences of Sars-Cov-2. A conclusion that refers to a famous phrase by the aforementioned Becker and often also traced back to the psychoanalyst Otto Rank, “We are Gods with anuses”: indeed the self-conscious mammalian beings that have reached the top of the Food Chain thanks also to the self-awareness from which at the same time it escapes, especially when it concerns the Limit and our End.