In these transformative times of interrupted realities we take a step back, not of our own free will but by force, after prior to COVID-19 having been engaged in a frantic rush forward in search for some unattainable goal while the past was left forgotten in the dust and material hype mattered more than ever. While a large part of the world is now suffering and the elderly are more vulnerable than ever–dying or, perhaps rather, sacrificed, in what feels like unprecedented numbers ̶ families are left to mourn alone, not always able to gather around their loved ones at the time of farewell to the body and the “living soul”. As we watch the world change, in disbelief, no longer are we in control nor are we as powerful as we once believed. This all-consuming, pervasive, seemingly never-ending pandemic teaches us to appreciate the greater value of nature, to really see “the other”, and to understand the true meaning of "less is more". And while we slowly realise there is no turning back and that the virus was perhaps written in the cards all along, we must practise resilience and mindfulness and ultimately step away from ourselves to see the bigger picture. This paper looks at our word in a both emotional and pragmatic light while it draws on existentialist theories of Søren Kierkegaard and Simone de Beauvoir –both inquisitive souls and ultimately refreshingly modern and matter-of-fact about what really matters and is at the core of human existence.
Jytte Holmqvist, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom