The stoic decision of Italians on how they are defeating Covid-19

Francesco Rulli / March 15, 2020
I took this picture of the Perseus with the Head of the Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria

Italy has declared a Quarantine for the entire country to fight the Coronavirus Covid-19 emergency. The people dying of Covid-19 in Italy have an average age of 81 years old, they were born in the late 1930’s, right in the middle of World War II, and they rebuilt this wonderful country making it possible for Humanity to access its beauty and history. This Quarantine has a devastating impact on the country’s economy and people’s personal emotions, but it is also the best choice the Italians could have done to preserve their identity and pride to exist.

Italians have a strong understanding of the intellectual and historical value of elderly people. Indeed, older people are a fundamental of Italian society providing wisdom, but also a source of contention.

What Italians are doing is stoic. I would like to take a second to explain what Stoic means, quoting Wikipedia: Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Another fundamental aspect of Stoicism is the relationship with Ethics: For the Stoics, reason meant not only using logic but also understanding the processes of nature—the logos or universal reason, inherent in all things. Living according to reason and virtue, they held, is to live in harmony with the divine order of the universe, in recognition of the common reason and essential value of all people.

When I see that politicians in other countries are more concerned about the economic impact than the lives of the people affected by this tragedy, I realize their passive existence, lack of stoicism, and disconnect with the Universal reason. It is now obvious why Italy is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the cradle of the Renaissance and host of 70% of the historical value of the World, providing a deep connection between history and human values and Universal reason.

Just like Perseus beheaded the Medusa, the Italians will defeat Covid-19.

Share with me your thoughts about Italy:

Maintain social distance.