We now face a rupture or discontinuity in our view of ourselves, in what it is to be human, that will change profoundly how we live: one that will renounce the present excessive emphasis on the material and individual, and better acknowledge the importance of the communal and spiritual. There are signs this process has begun, although its direction is not yet established, and it remains largely invisible in politics and public affairs.
The emergence and growth of a new ”human story” will not – now – spare us from troubled and turbulent times. Rather, such events will powerfully influence the course the transformation takes, the shape of things to emerge from the turmoil. They could help or hinder: provide the moral force for urgent action, or preoccupy us with crisis management. Several writers have described the revelatory, and potentially revolutionary, nature of disasters.
Not only can they bring out the best in us, and connect and empower us, but they also lay bare the social conditions and choices that often cause or contribute to disasters, delivering a societal shock that makes change possible.