Activity: Essay entitled ‘Can we pivot to a new renaissance?’
Author: Professor Sohail Inayatullah (UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies, IIUM)
Organizer: Expo 2020, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Platform: World Majlis Series Website
“While there are many reflections on the implications of COVID-19 and planetary futures, I would like to begin with the door of possibility. Novelist Arundhuti Roy wrote in the Financial Times (The Pandemic is a portal, April 4th 2020): ‘Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it’.
Can COVID-19 help us create a new renaissance—a transformation of self and society, home, and planet? There have been two historical renaissances. The Asian Renaissance was personal: the quest for inner peace, enlightenment, the utopia of the mind. The European Renaissance challenged dogma, allowing science and art to flourish, creating the possibility of revolution after revolution against authority that does not serve, the utopia of the material world. But can we integrate the two?”