• Jim Gilkeson

A Futurist's Take on the Time of Coronavirus

This is a departure from the usual energy healing topics I blog about, but I think you will find this interesting.

I was recently sent an article by a German futurist, Matthias Horx, which had a number of stimulating and useful ideas and perspectives on our current coronavirus situation. He makes use of two enduring images that have been flashed around the world since the virus broke out: One image is that of Italians playing music on their balconies; the second is a picture from outer space showing the relatively clean air over formerly polluted industrial areas in Italy and China.

Here is my short summary and selective on-the-fly translation of several snippets of his piece “Die Welt nach Corona” (The World After Corona):


“I’m often asked: When do we go back to normal after the coronavirus? My answer: never. There are historic moments when the future changes its direction. We call these moments a bifurcation, a depth-crisis, and this is what is happening now.”

Horx takes us through an exercise which he calls “RE-gnosis.” This is the opposite of “PRO-gnosis.” This means that instead of looking forward into the future and making a prognosis, we take a perspective of looking back on what is happening currently. Here, we imagine that is September, 2020 and we are looking at our current moment in the Spring.


From this point of view:


“Looking back [on the Spring of 2020], we’re amazed at how much humor and conviviality we experienced during the Corona crisis.”
“We’re amazed at how much the economy was able to shrink without the “collapse” that was feared with every tiny raise in taxes and every move made by the Fed. To be sure, there was a “black April” and a deep recession in which many companies either went bankrupt, had to downsize drastically or mutated into a new undertaking, it never came to a total breakdown. It was as if the economy was a living, breathing being, able to take a nap, sleep and even dream.
“We’re amazed that now in the Fall of 2020 there is a world economy, but the global “just-in-time” production model seems to have run its course as we see new local networks and a renaissance of hand-crafted goods. The global system is drifting in the direction of “glocalization,” that is, the localization of the global.”
“We’re amazed to find that even the loss of wealth is not as painful as we feared. In the world we see emerging, wealth seems no longer to play the decisive role that it once did. We realize that good neighbors and a thriving vegetable garden are more important.”

Why, he asks, does this view from the future back on the present moment have such a different effect when done skillfully?

“The answer lies in the particular properties of our “future sense.” When we look into the future, we have the overwhelming tendency to see the perils and problems coming at us, which can easily stack up into insurmountable barriers.
“When we take the opposite view, looking back on the current moment, two things happen: in so doing, we build a kind of bridge between the present and the future and this gives rise to a kind of “future intelligence” which factors in our inner transformation [which is not present when all we see is our fears of the future].”
“Change begins with a transformed pattern of expectations, perceptions and connections. It is this break in routine that liberated our sense of the future.”

Politically:


“We might even be amazed that President Trump will get voted out of office and that the extreme right-wing parties elsewhere start showing signs of waning in their influence. This is because malicious, divisive politics do not work in a world with Coronavirus, which has shown that those whose modus operandi is to set deliberately set people against each other have nothing to contribute to the actual questions we are facing for our future.”
“We are amazed at the way politics—and here I am speaking of its original meaning of processes for creating mechanisms of social responsibility—gained a new credibility and legitimacy. Likewise, science began to receive the respect it deserved as virologists and epidemiologists became media stars. Even practitioners of the “softer” sciences that weigh in on matters that touch on our future, the philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists who have been consigned to the periphery of our polarizing public debates, have found a new voice and relevance.
“At the same time, fake news and conspiracy theories quickly lost their market value.”

A Virus as an Accelerator of Evolution?


“Border closings, social distancing and quarantines have disrupted our connectivity habits but in no way have they done away with our connections. Instead, these have stimulated a new organization of the connectomes*** that hold our world together and carry them into the future. This acts like a socioeconomic phase jump.”
“Two lasting images from the Coronavirus crisis: one is the image of the Italians making music on their balconies; the other is the satellite pictures of Chinese and Italian industrial zones, suddenly free of smog. 2020 will be the first year that the CO2 output of humans actually drops. This image and this fact will affect us all.”
“If a virus can pull this off, why couldn’t we. It could be that the virus is merely a messenger from the future coming with the dire message that human civilization has become too dense, too fast, too over-heated, racing in a direction that holds no future. But civilization can reinvent itself and here is how it works:

Reset the System!

Cool Down!

Make Music on Your Balcony!

>>>If you would like to read more of Matthias Horx's futurist writings, go to www.horx.com and www.zukunftsinstitut.de. Not all of his articles and books will be in English, I'm afraid, but hopefully some of some of them will be.<<<

***Connectome: Strangely, I have run into this term twice in one day: in this article by Matthias Horx and in a novel, Fall, by Neal Stephenson. From Wikipedia: A connectome (/kəˈnɛktoʊm/) is a comprehensive map of neural connections in the brain, and may be thought of as its "wiring diagram". More broadly, a connectome would include the mapping of all neural connections within an organism's nervous system.

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