Appealing to Individual Responsibility:
Redefining the Future Lies in Your Hands
The coronavirus is a natural disaster. We humans respond differently to natural disasters: Some react with great scepticism towards and bitter criticism against the general narrative commanding a "majority appeal", so to speak, which is conveyed to us by politicians and the media. Others react by with strict discipline in order to demonstrate as well as possible that the rules and orders imposed on us are sensible and effective. Fear is what unites all people. Let's leave that behind for a moment:
"Then what would we be fighting for?"
Amidst the time of greatest need —when the air war raged in the skies above Great Britain— Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to cut spending on culture in favour of the defence budget. Churchill refused and replied with the now legendary phrase: Then what would we be fighting for? This simple thought serves as a major source of inspiration in times of crisis.
What defines us as humans? What defines us as humans if things become a tight squeeze ... if things really take it out of us ? And what does it say about our concept of man if we put health before everything else? What does it say about our society if we relentlessly and by all means try to extend the human lifespan to the maximum possible while disregarding the human quality of life, the actual content of life —the HOW?
#decultivation and #desensualisation
A brief glance at the current state of our social culture has a sobering effect: Cultural life has been put into an induced coma. Both audience and visitors are numb. Only few complain, nobody raises their voice. When a year ago, we believed that the big, the important, questions about the world were discussed in theatres, at concerts and with contemporary art, we now see that the true significance of culture has turned out to be secondary, probably even tertiary. The collective "desensualisation of shared experiences for our senses", which has lasted many months now, is just as widely accepted as the bans turned rules.
A year ago, veiling your face in public was considered a criminal offence; now, it is against the law to not wear a mask. Concerts, going to the movies and partying together were part of our everyday life; now, these activities take no longer place at all. The space to share thoughts, lead discussions and come up with new ideas —direly needed by many to digest quasi-totalitarian rules– has simply become vacant, unoccupied.
What was once indispensable has rather quickly become dispensable: While Europe firmly opposed genetically modified food not too long ago, everything is now staked on one card to overcome the pandemic, namely the card of an mRNA vaccine which basically injects an artificial software program into humans without knowing the long-term effects.
By promoting so-called "mass tests", the Austrian government intends to line up the people like cattle in order to get a snapshot of the current situation —all the while blatantly ignoring that we have developed an individualistic social culture here in Europe.
And while the economy stakes all on the card of #digitalisation to solve this crisis, we suffer a severe loss of sensualisation. Can our totalled culture ever be repaired, or should we rather turn towards something new? Will this new structure of society remain, or will we return to our "old" values?
Era of Transformation
No other crisis of our generation has limited life as drastically as the corona crisis has. How can you take away anything positive from a time like this? In any case, those leading a mindful life and taking care of their lives themselves will be the winners. This much we already know today:
Only those who, with much patience and endurance, cut through the jungle of new state subsidies and government aid will eventually receive the money. Isn't it good to know that the state can support us in times of need and can afford doing so?
Only those adolescents who already work as autonomously and well-organised as possible will be able to see the long months of distance learning as a chance which they will often look back on later, as adults.
And only those employees who perform particularly well in their current home offices will be able to have this mode of working at their disposal as an equal alternative in the future.
Corona Requires and Fosters Individual Responsibility
The future trajectory of our society as a whole depends on us, on every single one of us. But for this, ideas and sources of inspiration are needed. And this is precisely what I ask of all creative minds and artists: Let's leave our comfortable, now state-subsidised positions behind and come up with innovative ideas and alternatives to the insipid everyday life of the pandemic. Let them be weird, and loud too!
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity,
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
(Sir Winston Churchill)
All of us —including politicians and the media— could use the pandemic, this time of deprivation, to make ourselves aware of what has made us to who we are today: What role does culture, what role does the special, the sensitive and even the sensual play in your life?
Redefining the future after corona lies in your hands.
© SHA. ART 2020Tweet