An evolving bug risked distorting our evolution2 min read 23 Mar 2023, 10:48 PM IST
Global thinkers had warned us of a covid-led surge in submission to authority. In spite of an observed tendency, the post-pandemic record so far suggests we haven’t changed much
It is true that the threat of covid isn’t over, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week. We must stay alert, as he asked, even as India’s genome trackers were directed to renew their vigil on the evolving virus that causes the illness. Yet, for most practical purposes, it isn’t out of line to speak of this pandemic in the past tense. Three years after the country went into lockdown, we can safely review early expectations of its impact on our own evolution as a host species. One major forecast was of a sharp global escalation in state control over human lives, a likelihood talked about by Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari among others, and a corresponding increase in popular submission to authority. We faced a menace we could not fight by ourselves, after all, and it clearly called for drastic action only a government could take. And if locking ourselves up at home was not just okay, but a bona fide must-do, what else might we have been ready to accept?