The novel coronavirus is an inhuman embodiment without authorization and without a will. It’s an embodiment that is only grounded by its own system of replication. Since its replication is parasitic on human activities, we have to refrain from or ban many human activities, while encouraging and imposing other activities, in order to limit the replication of the virus.
The notion of God consists of a belief in an ultimate intention behind all phenomena. In the context of the virus, this notion need not refer to a divine punishment of sorts. The notion of a God behind the virus is fairly close to the paranoid idea of a hidden conspiracy that initiated the coronavirus contagion for its own private gains. There is no evidence to support this idea, so it’s logical to take the coronavirus outbreak to be an unintended event. There is even no evidence to call it a lab accident . It happened due to an inhuman cause, only indirectly related to humans. The human will that is most relevant to the virus is a reaction to protect one’s body from its replication system. The new bans and new authorizations by the nation states and other organizations are the social ways of adapting to this universal human intention.
How about the supposedly scientific notion of Nature as the origin of the coronavirus (for example, see )? The idea of Nature suggests an ultimate consistency behind the replication of systems that are the living bodies. Science says that Nature is originally random, which means that there is no known reason behind the multiplicity of the ecosystems on the Earth. There are only the presences of several systems of replication that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Thus “Nature” is not really a scientific term, but a myth that covers over a lack; either a lack of knowledge, in other words, sheer ignorance, or a real lack that indicates a deeper contingency, in other words, the ontological incompleteness of the objective world.
So the virus originates from certain ecosystems, but not from a so-called “Nature”: The novel coronavirus is similar to another system of replication that works with bats, so it seems to have “evolved” from there, which is another improper term: The functional purposefulness implied by the word “evolve” throws us back into the mythical idea of Nature. In fact, the mythical projection of intentionality is present in many semi-scientific descriptions of “natural mechanisms”. For example: “spike proteins, armatures on the outside of the virus that it uses to grab and penetrate the outer walls of human and animal cells” . The struggle against Naturalist explanations is a tension that is immanent to the discourse of science.
Thus, the actual reality of the novel coronavirus compels us to abandon the ideas of Nature and God. Instead, there is a confrontation between a system of replication that is the virus and a will to protect oneself from this system which is universal to humanity. The virus’ system of replication grounds its embodiments that infect the human bodies; and the human will to protect oneself grounds the new authorizations to prevent new infections. Although this may sound like the most obvious thing to say, it matters to articulate it in universal terms .
Işık Barış Fidaner is a computer scientist with a PhD. Admin of Yersiz Şeyler (Placeless Things) blog, Admin/Editor/Curator of Žižekian Analysis, and one of the admins of “Žižek and the Slovenian School” group on Facebook. Twitter: @BarisFidaner