The arrival of the year 2000 inspired big filmmakers and many of us to imagine scenarios for the end of the world: the return of dinosaurs, the arrival of extraterrestrial meteors, earthquakes, tsunamis, and even a hexagonal nuclear grave. Some ascetics convincingly celebrated only two millennia of Jesus’ birth. However, there wasn’t much celebration in the most diverse cultures and beliefs, from local meetings to giant gatherings. Like the end of the world in the sense of the new birth, not the end of days.
We can consider that the true beginning of the 21st century is taking place now, in the face of the unprecedented days in which we have been living, since the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic. We could even say that every week more questions are raised than answers about the problem: After 15 months, science, global epidemiological surveillance, statistical models, genomics, vaccines and promising treatments have produced as much data as the speed of disease spread.
For those who are tired of those long months and who prefer not to interfere in political disputes and controversies, there is still Aristotelian logic that reminds us “those who do not like politics and remain neutral by conviction”: we are and will be governed by those who love and urge to bear the consequences of this impartiality other than The Punisher. The apparent obsolescence of discussions such as “early treatment”, which unfortunately continues to thrive in Brazil, reveals the paucity of our critical awareness in contrast to the enormous capacity of work and related scientific production of Brazilian society.
Umberto Eco wrote, in a masterful text at the turn of the millennium, that memory should be respected, even if it was cruel. If we do not learn and practice filtering all available information that can be accessed today through networks and search engines, especially at this epidemiological moment, we risk emulating the famous character of Jorge Luis Borges, Funes, or Memorioso, who remembered even the number of leaves from a tree, with no Adequate criteria for what to keep.
We are disgusted with so-called patriotic demonstrations calling for disinformation. The challenge of the inalienable present day is that everyone receives up-to-date and truthful information, whether it’s about the scale of the problem, about promising discoveries, disappointments with drug tests, and even about the expected adverse effects of vaccines.
The torrent of information, however, requires an important sieve – the prerequisite of which will be precisely the basis of an education that, unfortunately, we do not have. We remember our beloved poet Vinicius de Moraes in the poem “Patria Minha”: “My country is without shoes / Without socks, my country / Very poor!” Like the poet, we resist and keep in touch with the pain of time.