For a lot of us, the pandemic is something new.
Sure, we were alive during the previous outbreaks — TB, HIV, SARS. But we barely remember them. We might remember bits and pieces, like people draped in Hazmat suits in the news(that’s the only thing I remember), but we’ve forgotten the effect they had on society. How did they change people’s behaviour? What kind of mindset did they give birth to? For me, this is the diamond in the COVID turd. We’ll be able to see a psychological, sociological, and political shift in society. It’s a golden opportunity to see a historic moment.
How different will we be after this, when the new normal becomes something we went through? When everything about it can be made fun of because it’s tucked safely in the past?
I think we’re gonna see a Renaissance.
Renaissance is French for “rebirth”. Historians chose that name for the famous artistic era because the world was dead before that. The Renaissance Age was preceded by a pandemic of its own, called the bubonic plague, or Black Death.
Like us, the people back then responded to it poorly. Also like us, they had to quarantine, especially when someone crossed into another state.
But when the pandemic died down, and they could resume their lives again, they flourished. Society bloomed like a flower. Art, religion, merchants, they all thrived like never before.
This is why we know people like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Montaigne, Machiavelli. They were the sons of the post-pandemic world. They were cultivated in a soil that was ripe for growth. The society they lived in had opened up to life.
“Art, like clean water and access to quality health care, is a marker of civilized society,” goes an article in the New York Times. When times are good, art is good.