Keywords: Ernesto De Martino, the end of the world, rites, cultural apocalypse.
The author proposes a reflection on the new edition of Ernesto De Martino’s The end of the world, whose work is more relevant than ever in the face of the tragedy of Coronavirus emergency we are experiencing. His ideas provide the opportunity to think of ourselves as individuals in relation to a community constantly looking for ways to overcome the crisis and to hope for the human component, capable of finding shared solutions and organizing new rites. Rites can protect against overwhelming anxieties and help the person to avoid the risk of an individual collapse through the shared elaboration of a collective tragedy: from the psychopathological apocalypse to the cultural apocalypse. Through the examination of some fundamental aspects treated in The end of the world, the author discusses the implications for the relationship of De Martino’s thought with psychoanalysis, considered as an important interlocutor but criticized for the overestimation of the child’s dimension as a fundamental psychic factor.