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After Us

The Consolation of Philosophy

- By Gabriele Ferraris

(Photo: Mont Blanc Tunnel, Samuel Zeller for the New York Times)

I haven’t left my house since February, but now I’ll have to do it. I have to get to a bank machine. Yes, even in these dark times of COVID-19, we Italians still get fined by mail. I’ll pay up, but you should know that I happen to have a philosopher for a brother. Not some placid guy who takes life philosophically. A real philosopher, the kind that hold debates about world systems and publish philosophical tomes.


After Us

Corona Virus and the Animal Within Us

- By Om Prakash Dwivedi

Modern society, as Byung Chul Han, incisively points out, is a “burnout society,” for it is driven and governed by the unequal structures of capitalism and its deep desire to immunize itself from others—races, cultures, nations—thus making a palpable distinction between the self and the other, the known and the unknown, the native and the alien, so forth and so on.

We live in an age of achievement and progress; the lack of it, therefore, entails panic and depression. The present pandemic crisis of COVID-19 could be a direct result of man’s desire to walk away with deepened pockets. The thing about...

After Us

What Do We Have to Lose?

- By Valery Glod-Gransewicz

Painting: “I am Joy” by Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis. Part of the Peace Am I series.

Three days into my own family’s version of self-quarantining, I began seeing headlines claiming the drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) might lessen the effects and viral load of COVID-19. Plaquenil is the most commonly prescribed drug for Lupus patients. Lupus is a chronic, auto-immune disease with the potential to impact multiple organ systems. While I haven’t personally required Plaquenil to keep my own Lupus under control since 2008, I’m more...

After Us

Predictions for Post-COVID-19 World

- By Tabish Khair

Photo: A worker at Dufan amusement park in Indonesia's Jakarta. | Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters

Increased xenophobia, greater marginalisation of workers

I am interested in examining not what has been done or not done to tackle the Covid-19 threat, but what its consequences might be – apart from the immediate one, which is the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods.

One of the long-term consequences of the pandemic was visible right from the start when strongly racist remarks were made about the Chinese on social media, and in some cases Chinese people were beaten up or threatened. The fact that this particular outbreak occurred in China was used to sneer at Chinese cultural and eating habits, despite the fact that the virus was passed on from...

After Us

My Anthropocene

- By Giacomo Sartori, Translated by Frederika Randall

(Editor’s note: With this post from the Italian novelist Giacomo Sartori, the Massachusetts Review inaugurates “After Us,” a new blog series that will focus on the climate crisis and the ongoing, devastating toll wrought on our planet and all of its creatures by the human species.)

It was beginning to rain in Genoa, just as I left the bookfair where I’d come to take part in a roundtable about literature and the Anthropocene. In the following days Genoa was deluged with rain and floods that brought the city to a standstill, floods caused by heavy construction on the hills above that has shorn the mountainside of its natural defenses so that every few years the rivers swell up and dump their muddy load downstream.

We can certainly...

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