The Austrian government took restrictive measures at a relatively early stage, limiting public life to a necessary minimum. In doing so, the Chancellor repeated again and again that “we have to get used to the fact that our lives will change permanently”. At the moment, living in Austria means a certain freedom, which is no small thing. The Austrian government forbids people to leave the house, but walks alone are allowed. This makes it possible to continue working with patients with the presence of the body.

One patient says that we are entering a new era of deceleration, which is coming over our lives with incredible speed. He calls futurologists who interpret “this message” of the virus in this way. But the virus does not speak. The message that some people might read from it is phantasmatic. And these phantasms circulate like the virus itself, from one cell to another. We know about the transmission and we can make projections like an election poll, we can make forecasts like a weather forecast, we can use all the instruments of the symbolic apparatus to generate data around this hole in knowledge. But the hole itself remains and it doesn’t speak. This hole is silent, as silent as the grotto in the grove of the Erinyes, where Oedipus on Colonos last seen only by Theseus, disappeared.

Our life has changed dramatically and radically in a very short time. Fundamental democratic rights have been suspended, political leaders are using the crisis to implement the instruments of tracking and surveillance. The virus as a global phenomenon, as a phenomenon of globalisation creates above all segregation – the healthy from the sick, the dead from the living, the vulnerable from the less vulnerable, old from young and the virus radicalises existing exclusion, such as the exclusion of refugees who, according to the last decree of the Austrian government, can no longer apply for asylum unless they have a health certificate with a negative corona test, which is practically impossible. The virus is like a microscope, it brings out the best and the worst of all of us. It affects all our lives and multiplies coextensively over our vitality.

The techniques of segregation are expanded and applied together with the many modes of techno-communication. Telecommunication is a tool that virtually removes segregation at home. We can all make this leap into the virtual. That is where life is. In segregation and telecommunication, two modes of enjoyment as a-responses to the impact of the real on the gear of enjoyment. Universities, schools, even elementary schools work with these tools and make it possible to go on as if nothing had happened. Parents who now work from home can go to school with their children at the same time.

The virus, which is neither alive nor dead, but which seeks life in order to replicate itself[1], hits us all, but everyone differently. What we need is time to live with our bodies.



[1] Miquel Bassols, The Law of Nature and the Real without Law, The Lacanian Review Online, March 15th 2020.