As a nation, we viewed the COVID-19 pandemic just like we viewed every other public crisis of the past half-century: through the prism of the Second World War. It’s our new national myth, the sacred narrative for a secular age. We imagine that every threat is Nazism, and we invoke Blitz spirit for every emergency. The fact that we have had the worst pandemic in Europe shows it’s time to wake up: our myths are not helping us. We had better find some new ones.
Alec Ryrie is Professor of the History of Christianity, Durham University.
New Ideas for the New Normal is a series of newly commissioned video essays from leading researchers and academics at Durham University. Each ten-minute piece considers how we might live now in a post-pandemic world, offering hope and fresh new ideas across a range of disciplines.