An interesting editorial by Global Ethics professor Tom Sorell on why our natural post-disaster instinct to return things to normal is so often exactly the wrong response, and why we instead ought to work to “usher in discontinuity.”

The problem with returning to “normal” is obvious: we’re often returning to the same conditions that put the people and/or property at risk in the first place. While the instinct is deep-set, Sorell argues, we must fight it:

[U]nless continuity has a significant value of its own, the determination to go on exactly as before may have little to be said for it. Emergencies may better be seen as occasions for fresh starts and rethinking. Because they take life and make death vivid for those who survive emergencies, they properly prompt people to appraise lives that are nearly cut short.

Short, and well worth a read.

On Not Returning to Normal” (via The New York Times)


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