The Plague Story and Other Essays

“Those who tell the stories rule society” – Plato

Societies run on stories. But in the modern west, we believe that we are above stories; we are scientific. It is partly because of this (story!) that we are often blind to the stories we tell ourselves. In this book, I analyse the structure of the story we have been telling ourselves about the corona event: the plague story. I look at how the plague story unfolded and who has been telling it. The structure of that story dictates both what has happened so far and what needs to happen to bring the matter to an end.

There’s just one problem: corona is clearly not a plague. Therefore, our willingness to accept it as such needs explanation. In the second half of the book, I sketch out the larger social and cultural themes that have been at work. Among these are our growing biophobia and denial of death, our continuing belief in the myths of heroic science and progress, the tension between technocracy and democracy, the economic and cultural realities wrought by globalisation and how the corona event fits within the founding and dominant ethos of the modern west: heroic materialism.

The Plague Story is a work that draws inspiration from the systems thinking and cybernetics movements of the 20th century. It is a multi-disciplinary series of essays that aims to place the corona event in the broader cultural and philosophical context of modern society. If you have the feeling that the story of corona is not quite right, this book aims to provide a framework for understanding and a guide to meaningful re-evaluation.

Paperback edition also available through Book Depository and Booktopia (AUS).