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Unlocking Humanity: Navigating Change and Connection amidst the post-pandemic.

I am an ex-social worker in a migrants' dormitory in Trieste. During the two lockdowns, I continued working. At night, I would gaze out of the tall windows overlooking the deserted streets of the city, and I had time to reflect. Reflect on what will change in the post-pandemic.

How? It's hard to say, but undoubtedly, the world of work, some services, universities, and administrations have realized that remote engagement not only doesn't compromise quality but can enhance it.

In the initial months of the pandemic, there was a widely proclaimed sentiment, amplified by the media, about the discovery of the value of human relationships. People felt more brotherly, supportive, and close, or so they said. However, this sentiment did not endure; everything went back to how it was before. This is proof that human relationships are the most challenging aspect to manage and improve in life.

The pandemic reshaped alliances, political boundaries, and relationships between nations. It highlighted vulnerabilities, inefficiencies, and delays in the system. Often, the inefficacy of regional autonomies was exposed, emphasizing the need for competent public management and the necessity of long-term political thought. When people start dying en masse, public health and research suddenly become important quality aspects.

Economically, our country did not collapse. Despite being hit by the virus, Italy held on, and the primary contributors to the GDP – tourism and hospitality – showed resilience.

The evident weakening of the middle class was alarming, and amidst political party conflicts, as Livy wrote, "war feeds on itself." Draghi's choice was driven by the evident awareness among the competing political forces. While contentious institutions spread a sense of mistrust and disarray, Mattarella's experience and firmness were crucial.

The Government, the yellow-red alliance of Conte 2, didn't fall due to Covid-19 like Trump, but due to Renzi's strategic plan. Draghi's choice had two important consequences: the near obliteration of unruly nationalisms and the increasingly visible reduction of the parliamentary function of our Republic to that of mere paper-pushers. The Parliament's power is diminishing, which is peculiar in a parliamentary democracy.

The political alternative to Europe's interference is the political-economic hegemony of major global players, which gained exponential profits during the pandemic – Google and Amazon being at the forefront. The internet influences thought, and some corporations hold the monopoly over it. If you control the internet, you control the economy. The increasing ability of markets to personalize consumption generates a tendency to separate human relationships from consumer goods. Relational goods are now increasingly enjoyed online, becoming a form of individual consumption.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) quantifies production but overlooks what's destroyed in the process. I'm talking about happiness, not the capitalist obligation to have fun.

Statistically, people in poor countries are happier than in wealthy countries. People after World War II were happier than today, despite having far fewer material goods. This is known as the Easterlin Paradox. If you provide material goods to the poorest segment of society, they become happier. But after a certain point, happiness consists of something else, something beyond material possessions.

Economists often conflate fun with happiness; material goods belong to the former, relationships to the latter. Good relationships are based on reciprocity and cannot be controlled or quantified; they arise from exchange.

post-pandemic world
Pablo Picasso, Science and Charity, 1897, Barcelona, Picasso Museum

Understanding human essence is increasingly essential for the near future. Without criticism or judgment, we might realize, if we could measure happiness, that people we assume are happy due to good jobs or successful lives may not actually be happier! This is a provocative question that could offer insights.

Why have we reached the point where we can't make plans, dream, or fear to love? Lost in a concrete jungle, exiled from ourselves, from our intimacy and sensitivity, we no longer look at who we are. We're obsessed with proving that we're capable of being human every day. We've lost the ability to watch a sunset, to cry in front of a flower or at the flight of a seagull.

Civilization, they say, is humanity's dominion over Nature, but we're now more subservient to the universe than ever before. We used to ally ourselves with Nature, synchronizing with its seasons.

We claim our freedom, shouting it in stadiums and concerts, in a world dominated by road signs and TV programs dictating a standard path for us to follow. "We demand our freedom," Sartre wrote, "without having the faintest idea of what it entails."

Social inclusion networks, like the ones established by the Community I worked for, proved to be powerful antidotes to marginalization and loneliness in the post-pandemic. Communities place human relationships at their core, an irreplaceable asset.

So, in the post-pandemic, those who work with suffering and discomfort had to adapt to the times. However, they must never shy away from the word "pain," which remains a societal taboo in other spheres. Embracing change involves grounding one's work in the human value of individuals, reflecting the human spirit that distinguishes us in every relationship. This world needs more humanity.



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