The Impact of the Coronavirus on the Society
Corona(COVID-1) is a virus that has emerged in China, which is transmitted through a respiratory tract, that is, a transmission that can reach large masses and make sick in a very short time. This pandemic changed the lifestyle of the whole of humanity. The virus started in China and spread to the whole world in a short time. This virus is very contagious and causes severe illness, especially for people with chronic diseases and for old people. Therefore, people pay attention to not leaving the house as much as possible. Many countries have declared curfews to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, people have difficulties in maintaining their daily routines, and this seems to continue increasing day by day.
The virus caused great panic among humans. This virus, unprecedented in history, affected social life significantly. Many measures were taken to prevent the spread of the virus. People started work from home and schools are canceled, online education started. Social, education, and business life are getting more and more difficult. The virus affects people’s mental state while changing their lifestyle. While the shared visuals and written articles on the subject create a high level of stress, fear, panic, and anxiety in people; it increased phobias, sleeping disorders, nutritional problems, and obsessive thoughts.
As the world drifts into a big crisis, people are shocked and don't know what to do. While there is a major stress factor such as an epidemic, people can not behave logically. This situation is explained by Freud. Freud believes that the mind consists of three basic concepts in his psychoanalytic theory. He called these concepts id, ego, and superego. According to this theory, the id corresponded to the unconscious, and the ego and superego corresponded to the subconscious.ID is our instincts and desires it reflects our animalistic side. The ego is the balance system and reality of an individual. Everyone’s reality and choices are different that’s why he called it an individual’s reality. Superego is the morality and internalized society. This part is like the police who try to use society’s norms to act ethically. As time goes by, a part of the ego evolves in relation to socialization and values, forming the superego layer.
The id takes control under great stress and people become inclined to act according to their primitive instincts. When people heard the curfew was announced, they flocked into the markets. In this case, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is food because it is an essential thing to live and it is a primitive instinct. Suppressed instincts of people appear in situations that cause great panic, such as coronavirus. People fought in the markets to achieve the products just like the animals in the wild. According to Freud, a newborn baby is made up of a pure id and wants his or her physiological needs to be supplied immediately. Imagine a baby crying until bruised because he or she is hungry and doesn’t know what is going on; however, it needs nutrients and wants it to happen immediately. It is like the situation of the people who flocked into the markets.
Freud said that “The ego is like a knight on a prancing horse. It is the referee who tries to reconcile the id and superego’s wishes.”Ego balances our desires. The decisions we made during this pandemic are controlled by our ego. Everyone takes different measures because everyone has different characteristic features because of that everyone’s ego works, differently. Some people go outside whereas some of them stay at home. It is the ego that determines these actions.
Superego is not based on our physical needs, but on the norms of society and social morality. Superego serves not only the individual but for the whole society. It is a result of our superego that we don't go out in order to not to infect other people. We don't think about only our benefit but also other people’s benefit. Our compliance with the curfew shows that we obey the social rules. That’s how the coronavirus uncovers our unconscious levels.
We can explain this situation with Immanuel Kant’s ‘’categorical imperative’’ too. According to Immanuel Kant, the superego serves the categorical imperative. Also, he thinks that morality is that when we do an action, we think of the benefit of society, not our own benefit. We have to ask the question of ‘’What is the pure reason ?’’ before making a decision as to what to do. We should find out the moral action in ourselves and we should search for the answer in scientific knowledge. If the reason matches with scientific knowledge, it means that the idea is true. So, according to him, actions must be done this way.
Nowadays, we unconsciously apply this theory to our lives. We don’t go outside because we think about the benefit of society. We do the right and moral thing by not going outside. We suppress our desires and lockdown ourselves in our houses to stop the spread of the virus. Goodwill acts from duty and respect to moral laws. Thus, you will reach the universal one with rationality. If we follow the instructions that have been told to us, we contribute to the recovery of society. If we comply with the rule of social distancing by suppressing our longing for our loved ones, desires, and need for affection, we ignore our own wishes and serve to the benefit of other people. That’s how we become moral individuals by applying Kant’s ‘’categorical imperative to our lives during this pandemic.
In general, in a time of an epidemic that causes such great panic, each person can react differently depending on her or his character. In such crisis moments, which of the emerging id and superego will take control, varies according to the events experienced by each person in the past and the way they were raised. Also, the categorical imperative is related to ethics to act morally. People these days are trying their best to deal with this virus. In order to survive this virus, which has a devastating effect on society, we must all do our part and act according to the benefit of society and balance our id and superego.