How can ricochets be prevented

psychology : Resilience is the wrong remedy for crises


Break what breaks you, "Ton Steine ​​Schorben sang in 1970. Today psychologists recommend resilience against the crisis. The word comes from the Latin" resilire "and means" to jump back "," bounce back ": like a rubber ball jumps back into its shape, after it has been pressed in. And just as the rubber ball doesn't mind a dent, one can survive personal crises, avoid burnout and deal with setbacks, if one only strengthens one's “mental resistance”, “balances flexibly”, “refocuses” “Tens of thousands of stressed people every day.

At the University of Mainz there has even been a "German Resilience Center" since 2014, in which neuroscientists, psychologists and sociologists measure the brain in order to develop strategies for how people can better process stress and learn to deal with increasing pressure to perform. A “broad impact in society” is intended, it says on the website.

The rubber ball effect is no longer just a topic for psychologists and stress researchers. Education experts, domestic politicians, environmentalists, urban planners, insurance companies and economists have also discovered resilience. Everyone is arming themselves against the uncertainty and preparing for disasters that are apparently inevitable. Architects are designing the terror-resistant city, domestic politicians are discussing resilience as a "security policy trend concept". Economics ministers are considering how to protect the energy supply from political blackmail attempts by authoritarian despots, and banks are wondering how they can survive the next financial crisis. Sociologists speak of the "resilient society". Resilience becomes an ideology, a fetish, a panacea against the crisis.

If you always adapt, you also come to terms with the wrong person

Of course, it is right to stumble in disasters without seeing your eyes and to protect yourself where possible. Of course, city planners and politicians should act with foresight and protect society from foreseeable crises. Anything else would be irresponsible.

But resilience is not a strategy for tackling the root causes of crises. On the contrary. The idea settles in that you just have to be flexible and adapt, sometimes bend a little and sometimes bend, then you can survive difficult personal and social phases unscathed. This leads people to come to terms with seemingly inevitable circumstances, instead of defending themselves against them and trying to change the circumstances. This can have fatal consequences.

Because societies are not rubber balls. They can deform themselves with such force that mentalities have been shaped by them for centuries. Democracies can erode and authoritarian forms of rule can establish themselves - permanently. Donald Trump's election victory has given European right-wing populists a boost. Nationalists and racists everywhere feel empowered. They do not react to crises and insecurities with resilience, but let their anger run free and attack basic democratic rights.

Unions help against lousy jobs - not resilience trainers

You can't prevent them from gaining even more influence by getting fit for the disaster and otherwise ducking away and adapting. Rather, as many as possible defend themselves against it, argue, become politically active and say: stop, that's enough, this far and no further.

Strong trade unions can do more than private resilience trainers against unreasonable working conditions and growing pressure to perform. Many people cannot even afford it.

Many are unable to arm themselves against unreasonable demands and disasters because they are socially excluded and have no power, because they live in great poverty or belong to a minority that is discriminated against. They help others fight for their rights. But solidarity is also neglected when it comes to resilience. First of all, every person, every nation, should make themselves more resilient for themselves. This may make it easier for the individual to deal with a difficult situation in the short term. But this is how power relationships are cemented. It used to be said that destroy what destroys you. Today the motto is: don't break anything! At most yourself.

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