Without Rice Even the Cleverest Cannot Cook

Extract from the book ‘Essays on Covid-19’ published by Book Hub Publishing 2022

“As I reflect on our experience of Covid 19, I am immediately drawn to the work of sociologist Ulrich Beck, titled ‘Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity’ ([1986],1992). Written in 1986, it has an incredible capacity to tap into the underlying anxieties and insecurities of our modern age. Central to Beck’s thinking about risk, is that instead of occurring in the natural world, risks today are caused by the unintended consequences of modernisation itself. He believed that what makes the management of these risks so difficult is that ‘there is nowhere to hide’! A theme that runs through so many of the chapters in this book. The real issue, in Beck’s view, is the inadequacy of the global and national institutions to cope with these global crisis. He speaks of a culture of public distrust in expert systems, a growing disquiet with the scientific community and governments or institutional bodies. I think this was part of our collective experience during the Pandemic.

Our book Essays on Covid 19, is timely. It is of national and global importance to capture how ordinary citizens of Ireland lived, worked and coped with the frightening upheaval in their everyday lives. To rely solely on scientific laboratory text would be an omission. This book illuminates the human spirit, resilience, coping, a muddling through and survival. To paraphrase a Chinese proverb:

Without rice, even the cleverest cannot cook

—Dr. Phil Noone


Beck U. (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: Sage.

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