Witnessing the unfolding of a doomsday scenario has been the fantasy of extremists in all nations for several decades, perhaps longer; and the current COVID-19 Pandemic has not acted as the rapid and ruthlessly indiscriminate threat dreamt of by doomsday cults. Instead the coronavirus acts upon our system as a boot sector virus acts upon an operating system; exposing threats and vulnerabilities, which if not corrected cause the virus to proliferate and dismantle certain functions; causing the system to slow or ultimately become inoperable. The lack of celebrated apocalyptic trappings—the military kicking in doors, bodies being burned in makeshift funeral pyres in city streets, the outbreak of some sort of hypothetical civil war of sorts—the lack of these events within the pandemic have aroused collective boredom, failing to live up to the social panorama of expectation; failing to fulfill the fantasy of a tangible turning point for the sustainability of our species—not as the emergence of a myriad of individual islands of hope, but as a mass adoption—or rejection of the things that caused the system to become unsustainable in the first place.
Instead, we are left with a vain struggle to recover the system, to reset it to a state of former optimization, to resuscitate Disney theme park attractions and the NBA along with crude oil prices and put the unemployed back in their place as empty automaton. Meanwhile, state funding for public institutions will be lost, pushing even more of the system towards privatization, further into a state of cannibalization and spectacle.
The system has been dismantled in a sense, the system is changing and this is the end of capitalism, but only as we knew it, not as the result of any sort of profound teleological operation. We are on the verge of something else, something intangible, something yet to be named, still to be determined, but ominously visible—albeit vaguely—on the horizon of an economically decimated landscape; a carbon riddled environmental wasteland. Ultimately, the coronavirus has served to show us where we are within the global abstraction of desolation; what we have lost, what we will lose, what we could lose as much as what we should. The coronavirus has shown us that the delusion of saving the human race is more distant than ever, not out of the lack of virtue inherent in that endeavor, but because the coronavirus has subtly forced the social into a deeper state of desperation, a deeper state of extremism; simultaneously pushing us further from any sort of techno-utopia which we have promised ourselves, while pulling us closer to midnight on the doomsday clock.