What was Satan so crazy about?
The world after Corona: How we will be surprised after the crisis
At the moment I am often asked when Corona will “be over” and everything will return to normal. My answer: never. There are historical moments when the future changes direction. We call them bifurcations. Or deep crises. Those times are now.
The world "as we know it" is just dissolving. But behind it a new world comes together, the formation of which we can at least guess. I would like to offer you an exercise with which we have had good experiences in vision processes in companies. We call it the RE Gnosis. In contrast to the PRO-Gnose, we do not look “into the future” with this technology. But from the future back to the present. Sounds crazy? Let's try it once.
The Re-Gnosis: Our world in autumn 2020
Let's imagine a situation in autumn, let's say September 2020. We are sitting in a street café in a big city. It's warm and people are moving on the streets again.
Do they move differently? Is everything the same as it used to be? Does the wine, the cocktail, the coffee taste like it used to? Like before Corona? Or even better? Looking back, what will we wonder about?
We will be surprised that the social sacrifices we had to make rarely lead to loneliness. On the contrary. After an initial paralysis of shock, many of them were even relieved that all the running, talking and communicating on multi-channels suddenly came to a standstill. Foregoing does not necessarily have to mean loss, but can even open up new areas of opportunity. Some people have already experienced this, for example, who tried intermittent fasting - and suddenly found the food tasty again.
Paradoxically, the physical distance that the virus enforced created new closeness at the same time. We got to know people we would never have known otherwise. We contacted old friends more often again, strengthened ties that had become loose and loose. Families, neighbors, friends have moved closer and have sometimes even resolved hidden conflicts. The social courtesy, which we previously missed increasingly, increased.
Now in autumn 2020 there is a completely different mood at football matches than in spring, when there was a lot of mass anger mobbing. We wonder why that is.
We will be surprised how quickly digital cultural techniques suddenly prove themselves in practice. Tele and video conferences, against which most of the colleagues had always resisted (the business plane was better), turned out to be quite practical and productive. Teachers learned a lot through internet teaching. Working from home has become a matter of course for many - including the improvising and time juggling that goes with it.
Renaissance of outdated cultural techniques
At the same time, apparently outdated cultural techniques experienced a renaissance. Suddenly you not only got the answering machine when you called, but also real people. The virus brought about a new culture of long calls without a second screen. The “messages” themselves suddenly took on a new meaning. You really communicated again. Nobody was left to fidget. Nobody was held up any more. This created a new culture of accessibility. The commitment.
People who never came to rest from the hustle and bustle, including young people, suddenly went for long walks (a word that was previously rather a foreign word). Reading books suddenly became a cult.
Reality shows suddenly seemed embarrassing. The whole trivia trash, the infinite soul garbage that streamed through all the channels. No, it didn't go away completely. But it was rapidly losing value.
Can anyone still remember the political correctness dispute? The infinite number of cultural wars about ... what was it actually about? Crises mainly work by dissolving old phenomena, making them superfluous ...
Cynicism, this casual way of keeping the world at bay by devaluing yourself, was suddenly out of place. The exaggeration-fear-hysteria in the media was, after a brief initial outbreak, limited. In addition, the endless flood of cruel crime series also reached its tipping point.
It is not the technology but the change in social behavior that is decisive
We will be surprised that, after all, drugs were found that increased the survival rate as early as the summer. This lowered the death rate and Corona became a virus that we have to deal with - similar to the flu and many other diseases. Medical advances helped. But we also learned that it was not so much the technology but the change in social behavior that was the decisive factor. The decisive factor was that people were able to remain solidarity and constructive despite radical restrictions. The human-social intelligence helped. The much-vaunted Artificial Intelligence, which is known to be able to solve everything, has only had a limited effect on Corona.
This has shifted the relationship between technology and culture. Before the crisis, technology seemed the panacea, the bearer of all utopias. Nobody - or only a few die-hard people - still believe in the great digital redemption today. The great technology hype is over. We direct our attentions more to the humane questions: What is the human being? What are we for each other?
We are amazed backwards how much humor and humanity actually arose in the days of the virus.
We will wonder how far the economy could shrink without something like “collapse” actually happening, which was previously conjured up with every little tax increase and every government intervention. Although there was a “black April”, a deep economic slump and a stock market slump of 50 percent, although many companies went bankrupt, shrank or mutated into something completely different, it never came to zero. As if the economy were a breathing being that can also doze or sleep and even dream.
Today, in autumn, there is a global economy again. But global just-in-time production, with huge branched value chains in which millions of individual parts are carted across the planet, has outlived itself. It is currently being dismantled and reconfigured. Everywhere in the production and service facilities, interim storage facilities, depots and reserves are growing again. Local productions are booming, networks are being localized, and the craft is experiencing a renaissance. The global system is drifting in the direction of GOCALIZATION: localization of the global.
In the new world, wealth suddenly no longer matters. Good neighbors and a blooming vegetable garden are more important.
We will wonder that even the loss of assets due to the stock market slump does not hurt as much as it felt at the beginning. In the new world, wealth suddenly no longer matters. Good neighbors and a blooming vegetable garden are more important.
Could it be that the virus has changed our lives in a direction that it wanted to change anyway?
RE-Gnose: Coping with the present by leaping into the future
Why does this type of “from the start” scenario seem so irritatingly different from a classic forecast? This has to do with the specific characteristics of our sense of the future. When we look “into the future”, we mostly only see the dangers and problems “coming our way”, which pile up to form insurmountable barriers. Like a locomotive out of the tunnel that runs over us. This fear barrier separates us from the future. That is why horror futures are always the easiest to depict.
Re-Gnoses, on the other hand, form a cognitive loop in which we include ourselves, our inner change, in the calculation of the future. We connect internally with the future, and this creates a bridge between today and tomorrow. A “Future Mind” arises.
If you do it right, something like future intelligence emerges. We are able to anticipate not only the external »events«, but also the internal adaptations with which we react to a changed world.
That feels quite different from a prognosis, which in its apodictic character always has something dead and sterile. We leave the paralysis of fear and come back into the vitality that belongs to every true future.
We all know the feeling of successfully overcoming fear. When we go to the dentist for treatment, we are concerned long in advance. We lose control in the dentist's chair and it hurts before it even hurts. In anticipating this feeling, we increase ourselves into fears that can completely overwhelm us. However, when we have survived the procedure, it comes toCoping feeling: The world looks young and fresh again and we are suddenly full of energy.
Coping means: master. Neurobiologically, the fear-adrenaline is replaced by dopamine, a kind of endogenous drug of the future. While adrenaline guides us to escape or fight (which is not really productive in the dentist's chair, just as it is in the fight against corona), dopamine opens our brain synapses: We are curious, curious, and anticipatory about what's to come. When we have healthy dopamine levels, we make plans, have visions that move us into anticipatory action.
A massive loss of control suddenly turns into a real intoxication of the positive.Matthias Horx, trend and futurologist
Amazingly, many have exactly this experience in the Corona crisis. A massive loss of control suddenly turns into a real intoxication of the positive. After a time of bewilderment and fear, an inner strength arises. The world “ends”, but in the experience that we are still there, a kind of newness arises within.
In the middle of the shutdown of civilization, we walk through forests or parks, or over almost empty places. But this is not an apocalypse, but a new beginning.
It turns out that change begins as a changed pattern of expectations, perceptions and connections to the world. Sometimes it is precisely the break with the routines, the familiar, that releases our sense of the future again. The idea and the certainty that everything could be completely different - even for the better.
Maybe we will even wonder that Trump will be voted out in November. The AfD shows serious fraying phenomena because a malicious, divisive policy does not fit into a corona world. In the Corona crisis it became clear that those who want to incite people against each other have nothing to contribute to real questions about the future. When things get serious, the destructive that lives in populism becomes clear.
Politics in its original sense as the formation of social responsibilities acquired a new credibility, a new legitimacy for this crisis. Precisely because it had to act “authoritarian”, politics created trust in society. Science, too, experienced an astonishing renaissance during the probationary crisis. Virologists and epidemiologists became media stars, but also “futuristic” philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists, who previously stood on the edge of polarized debates, were given voice and weight again.
Fake news, on the other hand, rapidly lost its market value. Even conspiracy theories suddenly seemed like slow-moving even though they were offered like sour beer.
The coronavirus as an accelerator of evolution
Deep crises also point to another basic principle of change: the trend-counter-trend synthesis.
The new world after Corona - or better with Corona - arises from the disruption of the connectivity megatrend. Politically and economically, this phenomenon is also called “globalization”. The interruption of connectivity - through border closings, separations, bulkheads, quarantines - does not lead to the abolition of the connections. It is about a reorganization of the connectomes that hold our world together and carry it into the future. It comes to onePhase jump in the socio-economic systems.
The world to come will appreciate distance again - and that is precisely why it will make connectedness more qualitative. Autonomy and dependency, opening and closing, are rebalanced. This can make the world more complex, but at the same time more stable. This transformation is largely a blind evolutionary process - because one fails, the new, viable, prevails. That makes you dizzy at first, but then it proves its inner meaning: that which connects the paradoxes on a new level is sustainable.
This process of complexation - not to be confused with complication - can also be consciously designed by people. Those who can, who speak the language of complexity to come, will be tomorrow's leaders. The expectant hope. The coming Gretas.
Through Corona we will adjust our entire attitude towards life - in the sense of our existence as living beings in the midst of other forms of life.Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian philosopher, at the height of the Corona crisis in mid-March
Every deep crisis leaves a story, a narrative
Every deep crisis leaves a story, a narrative that points far into the future. One of the strongest visions left by the corona virus are the Italians making music on the balconies. The second vision is sent to us by the satellite images that suddenly show the industrial areas of China and Italy free of smog. In 2020, human CO2 emissions will fall for the first time. That fact will do something to us.
If the virus can do that, can we? Maybe the virus was just a messenger from the future. His drastic message is: Human civilization has become too dense, too fast, too overheated. She is racing too much in a certain direction where there is no future.
But it can reinvent itself.
Music on the balconies!
This is how the future works.
This text had previously appeared on the websites www.horx.com and www.zukunftsinstitut.de, among others.
Author: Matthias Horx, trend and futurologist
Photo: Klaus Vyhnalek (www.vyhnalek.com)
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