S’inspirer, respirer

A new program dedicated to societal debates created by journalist and author Jean-Marie Durand, the cycle “S’inspirer, respirer” [“Inspire yourself, breath”] focuses on the environmental, social, racial or democratic predicaments of our time.

« Staggering in its immediate sanitary consequences and long-term political effects, the coronavirus crisis is akin to a “monstrous event” in the sense that it sparked the emergence of a new context affecting our concrete social spaces and our collective psyche at once. Rarely in recent history have we witnessed such a profusion of texts seeking to understand this event, to exorcize its disastrous effects, and above all to envision new paths for a future world freed from the faults revealed by the epidemic.

The desire to reflect on the “aftermath”, to imagine a new horizon at the very moment when the pandemic was compromising our lives, will remain one of the most enduring aspects of our experience of the coronavirus crisis. Without notice, the pandemic abruptly reminded us that the world could quickly descend into chaos.

Hence the necessity to raise issues, to become aware of our vulnerabilities, to wonder, as Edgar Morin said, “about our way of life, about our true needs hidden in everyday alienations.”

Nothing will ever be, or should never be the same again, we are repeatedly told. Are we still sure of that after several months? What does really need to change? What are the fault lines and the shared perspectives dividing and uniting the intellectuals who reflect on the world of tomorrow, even if many of them tend to distrust ready-to-use instructions?

At least, the pandemic has had the (relative) merit to dramatically highlight the vigor of critical thinking at the turn of this new century, driven by a sense of emergency about the many climatic, economic, cultural, and democratic disturbances that affect our world. What can thinking do when confronted to this shattered, confined, and asphyxiated present?

This powerful context beckons us to assess this current “pre-aftermath,” and to outline, through the contributions of philosophers, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, historians, and writers, a world saved from its most urgent perils. The situation also provides the opportunity to focus on crucial issues that inspire artists themselves. Bringing a more “breathable” air to our world means confronting the numerous environmental, social, racial and democratic predicaments of a world in crisis.

“You need to breathe/Tomorrow will go to seed”, sing French band Mickey 3D in their song “Respire” [“Breathe”]. These debates will seek to translate this need for respiration.

Throughout the year, we will try to unfold this global demand for respiration by focusing on several key issues pertaining to our collective lives. »