Today, health has become the highest goal of mankind. The society that made survival as the goal has lost its sense of what a good life is. Even pleasure must be sacrificed before the altar of health, which has turned into an end in itself. Nietzsche called it the new idol. The strict ban on smoking also represents this frenzy for survival. Pleasure had to give way to survival. Life extension becomes the greatest value. In order to survive, we are willing to sacrifice all that makes life worth living.
Reason demands that even during a pandemic, we must not sacrifice all aspects of our lives. That is the task of politics: to ensure that life is not reduced to a naked life, merely to survive. I am a Catholic. I love going to church, especially at strange times. Last year, over Christmas, I attended a midnight mass held despite the pandemic. It makes me happy. Unfortunately there is no frankincense, which I absolutely love. I wonder: why must strictly ban incense during the epidemic? Why? When I left the church, out of habit, I dipped my hand in the holy water and was startled: the basin was empty. An antiseptic bottle is placed right next to it.
“Corona sadness” is the name Koreans give to the state of depression that lasts throughout the pandemic. In isolation, without social interactions, depression deepens. Depression is the real pandemic. The Burnout Society began with the following diagnosis:
Every age has something that makes it miserable. So, the era of bacteria existed and it finally ended when we found the antibiotic. Despite the widespread fear caused by an influenza pandemic, we do not live in a virus age. Thanks to immune technology, we’ve left it behind. From a pathological point of view, the new 21st century embryo is not defined by bacteria or viruses, but by neurological. Neurological diseases such as depression, concentration disorders, personality disorders, and mental fatigue and exhaustion have marked the disease landscape of the early years of the 21st century.
Sooner or later we will have a vaccine to defeat the virus. But there will be no vaccine against the pandemic of depression.
Depression is also a symptom of this exhausted society. The achiever suffers from burnout at the very moment when it no longer has any “possibility”. It fails to respond to self-imposed imperatives for achievement. The inability to have any “may” leads to self-condemnation, self-harm. The achiever has waged a war against himself and perished in the same war. Winning this battle against yourself is called burnout.
In Korea, several thousand people commit suicide every year. The main cause is depression. In 2018, about 700 students attempted to take their own lives. The media even spoke of a “silent massacre.” In contrast, only about 1,700 people have died from Covid-19 in South Korea. Such a very high suicide rate is accepted simply as a collateral damage to an accomplished society. No significant means have been proposed to reduce this rate. The pandemic has further exacerbated the problem of suicide – the suicide rate in South Korea has increased rapidly since its outbreak. This virus has clearly aggravated depression. But globally, adequate attention has not been paid to the psychological implications of this pandemic. Man has been reduced to a mere biological state of existence. People just want to listen to the virus experts who have absolute authority in interpreting the situation. The real crisis this pandemic is causing is the transformation of naked life into an absolute value.
Covid-19 has tormented our exhausted society by deepening social ills. It pushes us into a state of collective disintegration. The corona virus, therefore, can be called the fatigue virus. But this virus is also a crisis understood in Greek – krisis, meaning a turning point. Because it can allow us to reverse our destiny and get out of misery. It urges us urgently: you must change your own life! But we can only do that if we really examine and reorganize society, if we succeed in finding a new form of life that is immune to this exhausting virus.