George Orwell's Animal Farm springs immediately to mind. Look it up if you don't know the story. What started out as a sort of odyssey towards a "new normal" for the animals lost its bearings and turned from the glorious liberty of Animal Farm back to the dreadful drudgery of Manor Farm. It was as though they were trapped on board an aircraft with a runaway trim, hoping it was all a nightmare but with no relief come a cold, clammy dawn. William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" comes also to mind, as does Brian Aldiss' "Helliconia."
Let's remember that life is homeostatic. Internal health and fortitude are essential if we are to move on to newer and more enjoyable things. Pestilences, wars, famines and the like, are merely symptoms telling us that something is wrong. Increasing and maintaining core strength is the way to go. If we do so, we have nothing to fear from what lies ahead.
It is not a question of hankering back to the bad old days. It is regaining the will from deep within to regain our dynamic equilibrium and dynamic posturing as we hurtle towards the next landing strip and make a feather-soft landing against all odds. Are we willing?
We will decide if we are going to descend into clinical anarchy in the name of doing no harm, or if we will continue to forge enduring relationships while accepting some harm to ourselves. It's up to us.
The tendency is for the whole society to move towards the new normal. The critical question is: In which direction?