According to the constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO), health is a fundamental duty of all states and a fundamental right of all citizens. They define it in this way: This definition is classical. Health concerns the whole, and, therefore, it is the Holy. The terms health, heal, hale, heil, and holy share a common speculative root which refers to the whole. But the question that we are faced with today is: what is the whole? Following from that, what is un-Holy or un-healthy today?

Before we think through these questions, there are certain facts that should be explored. We can only indicate some of them for now. The military budget of India is 2.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is 65 billion dollars. That of the United States of America is 3.2 percent of its GDP, which comes to 650 billion dollars[2]. India spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on health[3]. America spends 17.7 percent of its GDP on health[4] and yet tens of millions of Americans are kept outside the healthcare system. As we compare these numbers, we should remember that the population of America is roughly 33o million whereas 1.3 billion people live in India. Saudi Arabia spends 8.8 percent of its GDP on the military and 5.7 percent on health. Now, if we set aside national budgets and look at the world, then we have to conclude that the world spends at least as much on killing the people of the world as on their health, if not more.

This is certainly unhealthy because, today more than ever, we are a people of the world looking at and talking to each other on the screens of machines from the confines of their rooms. We are painfully aware that the majority of people in the world do not have these rooms and luxuries of isolation. We are anguished by the common suffering of this outspread crown of a virus. We are no longer the whole of a village, or the whole of a country, or the whole of any other idyll. We are the whole of the world developing through the sharing of sufferings, pleasures, techniques, ideas and art. Our metempsychosis through the forms we assume from one mode of communication to another propels communication networks. We are that which is obscure to ourselves, such that we continuously exceed the technological circulatory system, so that it can expand[5]. But most importantly, today we are a whole due to the fact that everyone is everywhere, and it is not by means of invasions and wars that we are in “foreign lands”. In principle, there are no more foreign lands.

An epidemic is possible only when there is the togetherness of people involved in regular transactions with each other, transactions of all kinds: of love, of trade, and even wars. Micro-organisms constitute their own milieus by taking the paths we create between each other; malaria spreads through vectors and flu spreads without an intermediary. For this reason, Robinson Crusoe would have had injuries and infections, but he would not have been able to suffer from a pandemic, because he did not share his world with other people.

This pandemic tells us that the whole today is the pan, and it is the pan that is sick. It tells us that there are less and less barriers between us. The population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza declared in the last century that man has come to the point where no new phylogenetic branching is possible because we are always together. That is, there will be no more branching of this species Homo sapiens in the face of changes in our “milieus”. Speciation, or adaptation, is something we will have to undertake ourselves, together, and we have been rather adept at it.

Now, we have seen a range of reactions towards the whole and the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the claims are that it is a punishment for man because he has breached nature, or that this is the sickness of the final stage of capitalism. Then, there are those who say that the efforts at containment will propagate bio-power or that it will breach regional autonomies within individual states. We also find that the distinction between the coordinates of “left” and “right” in politics today has become irrelevant; the statements of a Trump are reflected in the activists of the left, the intensions of Modi are shared by postcolonialist nationalists, and in this crisis superstitions (divine punishment) and the conspiracy theories (“it is just a flu”) are binding a new sterile political force across the world. This sterile force will be the matter which will soon receive forms through the growing technical organization of the world.

There are wishes and demands from both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ for a “return” to an “idyll” as the appropriate solution to this pandemic. The pandemic has only underlined the greater crises of the world—economic, political, environmental, technological, and psychological to name a few. The current species of the calls for “return”—to ethnic roots, nature, religion, shamanism, well framed idylls of the countryside—began a while ago, at least when the term “nostalgia” was invented, with the realization that modernity was the destruction of all references to transcendence (and immanence). These images of idyll are always of someone or of some people under whom many had to suffer to sustain them. For example, the contemplative life of an upper caste man surrounded by nature in the subcontinent was made possible through the racist caste order. The principle of these calls for “return” can be called idyllic a priori[6].

The health of each and every one on earth is the well-being of the whole of everyone and everything. But what is sickness? When there is sickness, we say that there is suffering; that is, there is evil. Aristotle thought evil through the concept of steresis or privation. The privation of light is darkness and the steresis of darkness is light. However, we do not find all light to be good. We prefer the dark, or a hiding place, for certain actions, and when they are shown in the light, we find evil (for example, revenge pornography). Aristotle had a precise notion of that which makes evil—evil is the privation of excellence. When something or someone is lacking in the excellence which is due to them, it is evil. The problem of evil in Aristotle is complicated by the notion of the form of something and the concept of excellence, which can lead us to a set of fixed norms.

There is another conception of evil that may help us understand the present sickness of the whole, it is stasis. Stasis happens when the movement of something is blocked by something else: say, water’s flow through a canal blocked by a brick. The Greeks used the word stasis to talk about a problem in politics. When several groups compete with one another in a city to have the sole power to legislate for everyone, there is stasis. In our present, the components of a worldwide political arrangement—the armies, the capitalists, the technologists, the ethno-nationalists— are all competing to become the one law, which would comprehend the whole political arrangement. And thus, we have stasis. We are in stasis.

There is already an indeterminate global regime which controls trade, tariffs and, technological standards and protocols. The only pretense to national sovereignty is achieved by political organisations that are ethno-nationalist. However, the pretenders of sovereignty serve a peculiar purpose: they distract the people from attending to the well-being of the whole, including their individual health. Thus, the people of the world are scattered and forced into greater and greater isolation through the theoretical and practical apparatuses of ethno-politics, bio-politics, postcolonial nationalisms, and regionalisms, while global processes that are setting in place a new worldwide quasi-state system are allowed to develop outside democracy. Or, properly speaking, a world democracy is being blocked from entering the world.

In order to think a way out of this stasis we should obtain a more distinct sense of health, at least provisionally. Health is concerned with the whole, and, for us, the whole is now the world itself. In the Aristotelian way of thinking, being healthy implied the possibility of being sick. In our everyday uses, we understand by health the property of someone who is without sickness, and, therefore, we say that “he has come out of illness and now he is healthy again”. There is something wrong underlying this conception of health. It presupposes a certain “nature,” in the case of man as in that of all living things, from which something departs in sickness and returns to it when healed. If such a “nature” were entertained in thought, it would encounter not only logical difficulties, but would also imply the presence of a certain rigid and brittle form in living things that would make them incapable of suffering changes.

This conception of health would also go against a biological understanding of nature. Darwin was concerned with the ratio maintained between the external and the internal “milieus” of living forms. We should also note that there is no stable “milieu” in nature. Darwinian thought presents nature as the reciprocal adjustment of internal and external forms constituting observable, but unstable, epochs. That is, nature is hardly normal, except when interpreted through a certain idyllic a priori. For this reason, there is no form in the living in the sense of Platonic forms.

Health, then, is neither the absence of sickness nor a return from sickness as the healed. Health is the power in something to exchange an older form for a newer form; health is freedom with respect to forms. This is easy to understand. Someone with a cochlear implant is not sick, but has obtained a new milieu of being whole again. An autistic child is not sick; instead, the rigid forms of societies are without the freedom to enter this child’s milieu.

Today we are the whole, and the whole is sick. That is what is announced by the pandemic. The particular sickness of the whole that we are is denoted by the specific evil of stasis. The components, which make up the whole that we are—i.e., the components of the whole world—are seeking to be the very law, which comprehends the whole. These components are the technocrats, financiers, America and China, regionalists, postcolonial nationalists… A struggle between the components to be the comprehending law of the whole is our stasis.

Stasis has drawn a negative portrait of the whole, of the whole world, of how the whole must not appear to be. The crowning of stasis is this pandemic, and the worst of stasis is yet to come. As we found out earlier, it is this stasis that prevents people from attending to the whole—we are allowed to suffer together, but we are not allowed to resolve together. Stasis holds us down, it keeps us busy in the futile final acts of national sovereignties and much worse, as in the newer forms of racial politics we are witnessing today.

Only a democracy of the world can now overcome this stasis. Ana-stasis is the power to come over stasis, and, in this sense, anastasis is health.



[1] See

[2] See Tian, Nan; Fleurant, Aude; Kuimova, Alexandra; Wezeman, Pieter D.; Wezeman, Siemon “TRENDS IN WORLD MILITARY EXPENDITURE, 2018”, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, April 2019.

[3] See


[5] This circulatory system hides what comes after what we still call “capitalism”.

[6] See “Our Mysterious Being”,