HDuring these months, we have witnessed the spread of the knowledge we are accustomed to as if it were natural but unique in human history. It seems to me that it would be appropriate to remember, precisely, in these moments of scientific success, two characteristics of this knowledge to which we owe so much and to which we have a right to expect more things: We have to combine the science of a plural word and that all scientific development will not be completely dispelled. This insurmountable ignorance that accompanies our human condition and is part of the complexity of the world in which we live.
The Coronavirus crisis has given science an unusual role. In the popular imagination (and also in public budgets), when we talk about science, we mainly think of “hard science” and the little plurality of knowledge that must intervene to explain and solve the major problems it faces. Humanity. Just to name a few, among the many examples that can be cited: Opening or closing schools is, of course, a matter of great epidemiological importance, but it is also something that has a lot to say educators, sociologists, and psychologists; In the discussion about the administration of vaccines, problems of preference and commitment arise that must consider epidemiological norms but also generate questions that require the contribution of ethics, law, or sociology. How do we define needs and priorities? Which restrictions on freedom are justified and to what extent? Who has the absolute legitimacy to make decisions, the people, its representative, or the experts? What are the criteria that have concluded that a person belongs or does not belong to a group at risk? Issues like these require critical thinking that cannot be based solely on the knowledge of those who work in the natural or health sciences, however subtle.
When we say it is time to learn, we tend to think exclusively about schools and scientists, as if we were unaware that the challenge refers to everyone, to institutions and companies, to the collective intelligence of society, in our own way. Communication and building cities € It is an enormous task that requires the contribution of all possible perspectives, a significant mobilization of knowledge that also includes fighting the many red tape measures that prevent society from implementing this learning.
Another troubling question is what will happen to knowledge and, above all, what will happen to ignorance in the future. There is no progress in knowledge that does not at the same time put us before absolute ignorance. Not knowing this explains why public perception of science so easily transitions from euphoria to frustration and distrust.
Other times in history have forged the desire to adapt to the new conditions of the world, having managed to map them out or at least know that it is all about moving in a known direction; It is up to us to try to determine this trend in the midst of time and space that have multiplied in trends and trends. We have a sense of entering a new world but we still lack sufficient knowledge about it which will be necessary for this transition to be executed smoothly and with the necessary preparation. This discrepancy between new facts and available knowledge may have been present at all times of change in human history, but it is now becoming more acute because this step is being carried out in an accelerated manner and in the midst of the crises we face. Not over yet. A tense and rushing world, interconnected and complex, is not something that can be seen at a glance that provides us with absolute certainty.
We must get out of this health crisis not only knowing more things (new vaccines, social data, biological discoveries €) but with a better knowledge of our human condition, that is, its possibilities and limitations. It is part of this learning to manage our expectations, promises, and frustrations well, to not stop experiencing what we should aspire to, to recognize our limits and to live with those small or big frustrations that occur when we are not able to achieve them in part or in all, what we wanted.
The health crisis was not the result of any conspiracy, and his departure would not be an act of witchcraft or witchcraft. Reason and freedom are the two main faculties that we must understand and manage in this specific context in which we move. Those who assert that this will finally put us in the right direction and those who are convinced that we will return to our old ways are mistaken in a central issue: Humans are beings who constantly experiment, adapt, and argue over the interpretation. More relevant to what happens to us, which we learn, even if it is bad and late, but we do all this in a context in which there are elements of need and freedom. The question of whether we will learn from the crisis cannot be answered because these two conditions (necessity and freedom) are unpredictable. What will our margins of work be, and what new challenges await us, these are things that can and should be anticipated as much as possible, but they will not be revealed to us clearly. And that we are truly free beings to take credit for the fact that we do not know in advance how we will respond to the events presented to us; Neither the big mistakes we made throughout history (this historic year too) nor the successes or exploits (which were abundant during the health crisis) allow us to confirm our predictions. Moreover, in this indeterminacy of the future lies the greatness of our fragile state. We will not accept giving up our freedom if that is a condition of a secure future. What we must learn, let us do it in an open and indeterminate environment of freedom and democracy, especially since it cannot be learned otherwise.
The author is Professor of Political Philosophy and Researcher in Eckerbasque at the University of the Basque Country. Author of Pandemocracia. Coronavirus Crisis Philosophy ‘(Gutenberg Galaxy). Embed a Tweet
We must come out of this health crisis not only by knowing more things but also with a better knowledge of our human condition, its capabilities and limitations.
What we must learn, let us do it in an open and indefinite environment of freedom and democracy, especially since it cannot be learned otherwise.