What goes into a big question

The big question about the AFTER

While it may take a long time, there is no doubt that the pandemic will be contained at some point. But beyond the necessary precautions for hygiene as well as auxiliary measures and prevention, the big question arises as to what will happen afterwards. Is the corona crisis just a painful interlude after which the consumer machinery starts again and the earth continues to overheat? Or does it enable the acceleration of change towards post-fossil societies that respect the boundaries of the biosphere, global justice and the rights of future generations?

Due to the inertia of the system and the current balance of power, a "return to the old normal" is unfortunately anything but impossible. At the same time, it would be irresponsible. "The fact that it continues like this’ is the catastrophe, "wrote the philosopher Walter Benjamin. Because the coronavirus is nothing more than a warning of even worse and irreversible damage that awaits us if we do not quickly take the necessary measures against global warming, the extinction of species and the exploding inequalities.

Change of consciousness

Humanity is at a crossroads. Before a radical decision between life and death, between “the abyss” and “the metamorphosis”, as the sociologist Edgar Morin writes. To transform means to let the old, which leads to death, die in order to be reborn in the upcoming renewal and for that which brings to life. However, the challenge is not just to rebuild a system that hits us against the wall. It's about bringing about a real paradigm shift. A transition in the strict sense of the Latin meaning of "trans-ire": to exceed.

This requires a change in awareness. It's about listening to what this historic crisis has to tell us. We have to go to their roots and question our ways of life, the dominant socio-economic structures and the principles and values ​​on which they are based. The coronavirus is a strong indicator. First, through its symptoms: it causes a fever and kills by suffocation. The symbol for a system that heats up and poisons the planet through its obsession with growth, its excessive consumption and its greed for profit without end. Then because of its origins: Covid-19 comes from animals that are abominably abused. Its development is inextricably linked to the disturbances in the climate and ecosystems. The sign of our destructive relationship with nature. Finally, by its spread and its effects: It is impressive to watch how a microscopic virus can bring the world to a standstill and the economy to the ground. The expression of the vulnerability of a globalized system, the interconnectedness of which is its strength and weakness at the same time.

Adding new magic to the future

So we are challenged to get to the bottom of everything in order to understand. At the same time, however, we have to change our imagination, our vision and our gaze. To rediscover with amazement, humility and creativity what Covid-19 reminds us in the negative: All living things are one; the earth is not a store of resources, but the source of life; man is not the almighty master over nature; it is absurd to lose the meaning of life for all the work; happiness is found less in the consumption of goods than in valuable relationships; Resilience is not found in “war”, but in cooperation and mutual help.

This vision is not just a utopian abstraction. For many years she has been the soul of the so-called transition movement, which is gaining momentum worldwide. In Switzerland and elsewhere, virtual encounters are multiplying. People meet to overcome feelings such as fear, to search for meaning and, above all, to imagine together what a sustainable, solidary and just afterwards could look like. They dream and invent new stories that nourish the desire for life and commitment, like countless seeds that give the future a new magic. A tomorrow that seems all the more possible because it already partially exists. In the myriad of alternatives that thrive in all areas at the local level.