Ancient Philosophical Inspirations for Pandemiconium


At times, the COVID-19 Pandemic has spent words of their value. We academic philosophers have written many articles in relation to it, and plenty of social media posts, as well as other discourse on it. It all seems effete to stop the flames we have kindled that led to this global tragedy. Our civilizational unsustainability and instability have borne down on us the last year and a half, and at times it seems to reveal a dire fall. There is a sense of failing to avoid a pandemic-onium all too visible and nearing as we descend to the depths. Like the Devil’s palace, this place is also of our own creation. Whether this zeitgeist is but the Calvinist vision of perennial despair reappearing its fantastical face or indeed a portent of the times to come, we cannot but at time see through the eyes of the rebel fallen angel, with smoldering sorrow and anger for our world, if not heaven, well lost.
It becomes hard in such moments to have any hope that one’s own work at self and communal cultivation is anywhere near enough. It sometimes feels as if all we can do is fiddle as Rome burns. Are we participating in our own downfall? Even if not in the confines of academic philosophy, and doing broad based cultivation work in philosophy as a way of life (PWL), how can one not but feel helpless and wrathful about our own situation, for the countless dead by government inaction to the virus, corporate greed and entitlement to protect vaccine formulas, hubristic populace quests for superior conspiratorial knowledge, growing authoritarianism, unchecked white supremacist fascism, and biological devastation caused by an unsustainable late-capitalistic, hyper abstracted, global economy? Those feelings seem righteously luciferian. However, our global wisdom traditions, with nuance, challenge us against mere smoldering anger, or at least not without guidance. To go further, our PWL wisdom traditions have long exhorted us to strive for ataraxia (a state of serene calm and clarity), and even to amor fati (love [our] fate), especially at the worst of times.

How to cite:

Kramer, Eli. “Ancient Philosophical Inspirations for Pandemiconium.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 1 (2021): 1-6. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0001.


Eli Kramer
Institute of Philosophy, University of Wrocław
ul. Koszarowa 3/20, 51-149 Wrocław, Poland

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