How does your thinking change over time?


Status: 03.06.2020 4:48 p.m.

What kind of society will we live in after Corona? The trend and futurologist Matthias Horx already has an idea of ​​what post-Corona life will look like - you can read about it in his new book: "The future after Corona - How a crisis changes our society, our thinking and our actions".

Mr. Horx, we are just at the beginning of the easing and at the same time you are bringing a corona book on the effects of the pandemic onto the market. Isn't it a little early for that - or did you want to be the first?

Matthias Horx: I don't think it's too early - it's never too early in holistic forecasting. You can try to dare a few theses, and that's what interests people. We always imagine the future and to a not inconsiderable extent the future will also be how we imagine it. This is the so-called foresight effect. And that is what the book is about: how our society constructs the future - through its inner images and systems of expectations. It doesn't have to mean that the world is ruined and we are all impoverished, but it could also be an enrichment for society, an experience that becomes important and existential. I'm interested in how this changes us as individuals, as a society.

At some points in your book I have read that we will be surprised. About what?

Book tip

Book tip:
The future after Corona - How a crisis changes our society, our thinking and our actions
by Matthias Horx
Econ publishing house
Pages: 144 pages
ISBN: 978-3430210423
Price: 15.00 euros

Horx: Wonder is something we have forgotten; we killed that quality in us. Being able to wonder means accepting a reality that has changed and saying "wow" at the same time. This effect affected many people during the crisis: We thought that we couldn't stand it at all, that we could no longer go out, celebrate or go on vacation. And then in this renunciation a whole new wealth, a new freedom arose. This is very typical for our brain, which can still be amazed. One can be surprised that there is another way, that many things are not needed, that it is even nice at home and that we have reconstructed our human relationships. In this respect, such crises are always revelations: That reveals something in society, where it is headed. My thesis is that this will in some cases also prevail.

They predict, for example, that the first soccer games with an audience in autumn will no longer be accompanied by rabble. Could this pandemic make us more philanthropic, milder, more sensible?

Horx: Yes, but not only because we become better people, but because then it becomes improper. There is a lot of cultural change. And I believe that this crisis has a very strong impact on the cultural level - and that changes politics and the economy as well. We greet each other differently and it will be awkward to yell at each other - because that's what spreads the virus. The virus is just a metaphor: when Corona is defeated, the next virus will come. It has always worked that way throughout history. During the plague time, people would spit on the streets and put feces everywhere. This creates distinctions. This is not just because people want it, but because it is socially taboo. If you know that on February 19, 44,000 screaming men at the football game in Milan brought this virus into the world with the biggest slingshot of infection of all time, then you also know that it will get stuck in our throats. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any single people who will also bawl. There will always be.

If you take it into account, this crisis is a general slowdown in our world culture. This applies to globalization and to our forms of communication. It's a slowdown that will last.

What makes you so sure that this slowdown will persist? How sustainable do you rate the changes that have already occurred as a result of this crisis?

Horx: That is the key question. There are two world models that are in conflict with each other and that I deal with on a daily basis. The classic question is: can humans change? It's actually a cynical and ignorant question because people are always changing. We change constantly in the course of our lives and only because of this can we exist at all. I myself am part of the 1968 movement and a lot has changed since then. We don't even notice it. In this crisis there is again a surge of change, at least for some of the people, and that will also tip majorities. The whole thing can also be seen as a pre-conflict for the big argument about "global warming" that we have now postponed. We can see that the New Green Deal is more attractive today than it was before.

I believe I can read a little from your book that you are less concerned with a concrete future scenario than with a personal wishful thinking: as if you wanted to project your very own brave new world onto the reader in the hope that she will also follow the futurologist . Should the book be read more as a guide?

Horx: Now assume prophetism to me - you are welcome to do that. But when you read the book you will find that there is not much of it because I am very conscious of how I do it or not. I only have one job: to question people's negative attitudes a bit. That everything is getting worse and worse - that has become the job of the journalists, because the media can only operate with negativity, because that attracts attention. And I'll only say one thing: it can also turn out differently. I then leave it up to the reader whether they accept it or not. I advocate something like responsibility for one's own fantasies and actions. And I advocate something like confidence - that is different from hope. Hope says that the world will change, that others will have to change - then I'll believe it, then I'll go along with it. But confidence means that I create the future myself. I myself am part of humanity, of my family, of a society, of a nation. And I take this responsibility for myself and for others. I am trying to create an adult concept of the future. It is very difficult because it is always misunderstood as prophecy. But that's not it.

Interview conducted by Andrea Schwyzer

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NDR culture | Journal | 06/03/2020 | 7:00 p.m.