“We are so afraid of the idea of having to die… that we always try to find excuses for the dead, as if we were asking beforehand to be excused when it is our turn…”

— Jose Saramago, Blindness

As soon as the world underwent a global lockdown, people started to look for alternatives to cope up with the panic and stress that the COVID-19 inflicted upon every person. Bibliophiles are taking refuge in books. A few books that every other book lover is recommending in the days of a pandemic include Camus’ “The Plague”, Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera” and Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year.” What is surprising is that Jose Saramago’s “Blindness” has yet to find a mention. Perhaps, this is one reason why pop culture should not be taken too seriously for it many a time overlooks the actual gems.

And while COVID-19 is transforming the world in every possible manner, we are witnessing that people who run a society’s most complex systems have stopped doing their jobs. Everyone is now busy just meeting their basic biological needs. And this is what Saramago tells us in his 1995 novel. He demonstrates that people can never truly free themselves from these needs: no matter how sincerely we believe ourselves to be the most rational and sophisticated of all animals, we are still animals like any other.

Perhaps, Blindness remains the essential book to understand the changes a society undergoes whenever a crisis hits it. It is not late to search for a copy of this marvellous novel in your shelves (Or order a copy). Remove the dust on its covers (Or unpack it). This is one forgotten book that should not have been forgotten by people.

Note: This still is from 2008 film adaptation of the novel.