Called upon by a virus which “brought the world to its knees”, the French writer and philosopher Michel Onfray looked at the coronavirus crisis. Analyzing day after day what was happening in the news, he shares the fruit of his reflections, his critiques on society and the accounts of his interviews in the media in his new book, The pangolin’s revenge.
Michel Onfray communicates his ideas with conviction, without concession, in his book. For him, COVID-19 reveals, “in the photographic sense of the term”, the follies and excesses of our time. Also he denounces “the weakness of politicians, the cacophony of scientists, the emergence of media medicine”, and more.
He saw the danger
Did people have their heads in the sand, in January and February 2020? “It seemed obvious to me that if in China they were able to confine a city of 15 million inhabitants, there was a danger,” he said in a telephone interview.
What followed proved that he was right to be worried. “Macron did anything and everything and we could have avoided a situation like this if, from the start, if he had taken the measure of the situation, if he had started by closing the borders”, says -he. Banning Chinese planes from landing in France for several weeks would also have helped, he adds. “He wasted three months.”
For the economy, the impact has been enormous, he observes. “We have banned all French economic activity. There are still people who are at home and who do not work. What are we going to do with this? In other words, we will end up with people who are going to go bankrupt, people who are going to commit suicide, people who are going to close shop. “
What was he thinking about during the lockdown? “It hasn’t changed my life much because writing is a lonely job, so you can really stay home and work without difficulty,” he comments.
“But there is still a moment when you want to go out to go out, to see people. There are people who get depressed and we can see that the psychic structures have been damaged. We don’t talk about it because it’s not measurable, but there are probably people who have entered into neuroses or psychoses. “
A lesson in vitalism
In the book, he talks about zoonoses, the environment, death. “I think it brings to our eyes the fact that we are mortal, that life and death are intimately linked and that for decades, since Christianity collapsed, the question of dead. “
The coronavirus, in short, is doing its virus job. “It’s just a lesson in vitalism, in terms of philosophy. The great power is life, and for the great power to be, death must also be. ”
- Michel Onfray has a doctorate in philosophy.
- He is the author of more than 100 books translated in more than 25 countries.
- His website: michelonfray.com
- He launched Popular Front, a review of reflections and debates on ideas to rebuild the world and think “the days after”. The website: Frontpopulaire.fr