by phoebe lily page
In these times, the systems that structure our lives have changed – or disappeared. The ways we move through our environments have changed. We leave a wide berth for those we meet in the street, and we welcome our friends and colleagues into our living spaces, albeit through the lens of a camera. How we inhabit our bodies, perhaps no longer adorned in stylish clothes, has altered as we shift into different ways of being in our homes, and in ourselves. The social circles we maintain, the way we work and study, the way we experience joy and anxiety, all have changed. Perhaps not all in ways that we desire, and some perhaps bring a new sense of comfort and delight.
by george sargent-childs
"Constantly reflect on all the things which happen now have happened before: reflect too that they will happen again in the future. Have in your mind’s eye whole dramas with similar settings, all that you know of from your own experience or earlier history."
I don’t know about you, but everywhere I go I keep on hearing the phrase, “these are unprecedented times we’re living in” in regards to the current Covid-19 crisis affecting the world. For most people, with most of our planet in lockdown, yes, these are uncertain times of which a majority of us would never have previously imagined and therefore the effects have taken us by surprise. However, I don’t believe the Ancient Greek and Roman Stoics would’ve been so surprised. In fact, my favourite Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius faced a 15-year-long pandemic during his reign as Emperor of Rome, alongside wars, political disputes and the day-to-day happenings of being a ruler of the largest empire on earth at the time. Marcus, according to many sources, remained calm and collective throughout. He didn’t let fear consume him, he carried on. The instincts of the stoics may feel hard for us to understand in this current climate, but luckily we have a copy of his private diary – the “Meditations” – to give us insight into his Stoic mindset. Previous to the Coronavirus outbreak, I had been following the Stoic routine of Marcus Aurelius, and I feel these spiritual excursuses could serve useful to a fearful society in times such as this.
UK Philosophy and COvid-19
Do you want to know how philosophy is relevant to COVID-19? The British Philosophical Association is collecting resources on this topic. For further information, have a look at their website.
Philosophy and the pandemic: reading suggestions!