The End of the Great Nap: COVID-19 breaking our slumber

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused many to ponder what the world will be like post-lockdown. The ‘post-corona world’ is certainly going to be an issue for people across the world. But Eric Weinstein, an American mathematician and academic who is currently the managing director of Thiel Capital, has his own view on what the post-corona world will consist of.

Recently, he has proposed a concept theory around the post-corona environment known as ‘the end of the great nap’. Weinstein’s theory consists of an argument that, since the end of World War II, the world (largely the West) has faced 75 years of relative quiescence. This is largely due to a lack of a global tragedy or, at the least, a realised global tragedy that has truly affected the world. He does this by contrasting while also supporting the view put forward by Steven Pinker.

Pinker’s view is that the world in recent decades has become noticeably better, arguing that this is through the development of third-world nations and increased life expectancies worldwide. Weinstein believes that this, too, is true. Pessimistically however, he believes this great nap the world has enjoyed hitherto is now ending. This is because nations have instead become over-reliant on technological developments, with the seamless lack of disruption causing humanity to become more fragile and vulnerable to disruption.

The great nap has therefore isolated us away from global reality, with the current pandemic ending our pleasant sleep. An appropriate analogy for this is the virus merely being an underwater earthquake, with the great flood it causes coming much later. One could therefore infer that the end of this great nap is the auguring of a great global realignment of how nation states and global institutions act and position themselves within the international system. As a result, we have been asked to sacrifice, to risk, and act collectively. It should be revealing or awakening for us, so to speak. Weinstein states that in times of global pandemics, there is going to be reduced appetite for individuals ‘feeling sorry for oneself’, granting a greater supply of self-determinism within society and greater emphasis on one’s fellow countrymen.

Weinstein therefore argues that we are now just restarting history (in the Hellenic sense of the word) and that the end of this great nap could see the rebirth of a more traditional worldview that has been neglected for several years.

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