The influential French thinker explains the politics of the Gaia principle, the problems of post-truth and how coronavirus gives us a model for spreading ideas
In the early days of the lockdown, philosopher Bruno Latour wrote an essay for the AOC cultural online newspaper. “The first lesson the coronavirus has taught us,” he wrote, “is also the most astounding: we have actually proven that it is possible, in a few weeks, to put an economic system on hold everywhere in the world…” That essay, translated since into at least 12 languages, has encouraged many to reimagine how different the world could look if we learned from this experience. It has also solidified the reputation of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) emeritus professor as one of the most influential thinkers of our age.
How has the pandemic reshaped our societies?
Some say this is the revenge of nature. That is silly. Anyone who has studied the history of medicine knows how a virus can make a society feel completely different. We are on a great learning curve. It’s a huge experiment. This is a global catastrophe that has come not from the outside like a war or an earthquake, but from within. Viruses are completely inside us. We cannot completely eject them. We must learn to live with them.
We cannot endlessly extract resources and discard our waste. In the critical zone, we must maintain what we have