Commentary. While waiting to return to a world that is the very cause of the pandemic, loneliness has taken over.

An incredible opportunity to change, not to return

Italy is a country that is standing in line. Lines in shopping streets, in front of post offices, stores and banks. Long lines of people waiting for the swab, long lines of coffins in front of cemeteries, and then even longer lines in front of soup kitchens for food. People waiting, standing for hours, respecting the required distance. A distance that over the months has become a rift, not only social, but economic, physical and moral.

Loneliness has taken over, and everyone has to deal with things on their own. Everything is taking on hyperbolic, exorbitant, hysterically excessive forms, the forms of mediation have disappeared, a few good Samaritans (and some public policies) have mitigated the situation on the economic level, but no one is able to cope with the existential drift of the change.

The pandemic is increasingly taking the form of a lost opportunity: in addition to the loss of life, time and work, what is being lost is an incredible opportunity to change. We are, as Flaiano said, “so mistrustful of the future that we are setting out to design the past.”

We are standing still, waiting for everything to go back to the way it was before, hoping to return to a world that was the very cause of the pandemic: one which produces, moves, extracts, buries.

We should take away rather than pile on, give rather than get, return rather than take, find value rather than price, distribute rather than hoard, be just rather than judge. We should take action for that change for which there is no need to stand in line.

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