I think I can count at least up to ten times since 2008, that someone posted the famous quote from Albert Einstein, saying that crisis are a blessing. That’s a lot to say, considering I’m talking about the same quote, from the same person, among my acquaintances.
I confess I feel awkward about that quote, the same as some people who consider cancer as a blessing, or a gift.
What’s more, I feel controversial and I would like to state and bring to debate, to what extent these two exemplary speeches mean what they mean.
I’ll start by saying that to me, they only and exclusively relate to the individual context. There’s no possible way that we could wish that the more people get cancer the better, under the logic that the experience will strengthen their souls and teach them to appreciate life even more, and in a better way.
Of course we are all doing our best to succeed in the current crisis context, but that SHOULDN’T BE THE POINT.
Social matters cannot be addressed under the same approach as individual ones. Because, as I exposed recently to a friend regarding an interview to Jonas Salk, you cannot apply models and frames of knowledge from one field to the other, i.e.: from cellular level to the human body as a unit, and from the human body to the social body as a whole. The levels of complexity are infinitely larger in the latter than in the previous one.
What experience does society build from crisis like WWI, WWII, the Holocaust (are Jews far richer in experience because of the Holocaust?)?
Because under this scope, any evil will be for good, and the more we are subject to bad stuff, the better we’ll become.
That’s why there’s more crime in the rich neighbourhoods of the city, and more criminals among the high classes (I’m being ironic, although we know that’s exactly how things go), than in the suburbs and between poor and desperate people.
We know perfectly well, which are the ways our society established for those in the lower segments of its’ body, to strive and succeed, under the current rules:
– Sports in the university (the only way to be kept in that exclusive circle, for families without enough income)
– Show Business (if you hit the lights, and you make it, without any studies or trade, nor career or profession).
Because in the end, the question is how a society manages to give equal opportunities to all its members, not saying give money, but the chance to get as much progress as he or she wants, as far as it only depends on his or her efforts.
So, it turns out that crisis act like a valve, and when a society starts lacking of resources, these are directed to very specific areas, to support particularly selected strategies. As for the rest, it becomes quite: “Run for your life”.
To say that crisis are beneficial is equal to say that Walter Benjamin concerns on Experience and Poverty after WWI, were absolutely unfounded. And all his writings on the barbarism and anti-humanism of the Holocaust, are also diminished, for those were nothing but stepping stones for our progress as human society (yes, that storm that keep pushing the angel into the future).
Let’s go back to Jonas Salk for a minute. Let’s remember and keep in mind that vaccines’ success depends on the dose. If you apply the vaccine in excess you will surely be inducing the disease to the patient, which is exactly the opposite outcome to your purpose (right?).
Are you telling me that this crisis is being applied in precise and measured doses, so the social body can build its own defenses, that the whole of the social body will come out even stronger? Or it will be that SOME OF US, will be stronger at the cost of TOO MANY MADE REDUNDANT?
We know too, that you cannot fight any issue without facing it: it is impossible to find the cure to a disease, without addressing the disease. We will not overcome this crisis, if we don’t deal with its’ causes, its’ facts and its’ consequences.
Unless we just want to get over it alone. Yes, that way, you will survive. But I seriously doubt there might be anybody to congratulate you for your success.
One last thing, and honestly, I don’t know exactly what it might mean and why these thoughts comes to my mind:
Albert Einstein was a man within the system. He died at the age of 76, due to an internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Jonas Salk was too, a man within the system. Died at 80, from heart failure.
Walter Benjamin killed himself while escaping from the nazis when he was 48. John Lennon (another fighter for peace and against the stupid system) was killed at 40, by a – supposed – lunatic.
I’m not saying you should commit suicide. I’m just saying stop fooling yourself .