T he messages of salvation are still echoing in the hall: “You have your future in your own hands”; “You are the forger of your own happiness”; “You can create reality by the power of your will!” – Or so the birds whistled it from the rooftops. No, not the birds, but the birdbrains of some pseudo-coaches or kitchen-psychologists who loved to make us believe that each and every one of us had full control over what they call “my life”.
But the truth is quite different.
The lesson that corona teaches us makes it clear once and for all: No one is the lord and master of their own life. We are all indissolubly bound into a comprehensive web of natural and social life, which we cannot ignore with our narcissism or dominate with our egoism.
The insight that corona teaches forces us to learn to think systemically: we are what we are through the systemic connections in which we stand to others: to other people, but also to all other beings in the animate world. Our whole being, our identity, is the product of our relationships – and precisely not an erratic ego that could build the world in its own image by means of its will and power.
The art of living can no longer mean self-optimization or increasing one’s own power – but only the art of systemic interaction and cooperation. Of course, the individual has some influence on what they do with their life; but not as a powerful potentate, but as a mindful partner in a continuous convergence with others and themselves.
Only if we understand ourselves out of our involvement in the larger world and recognize our responsibility to listen to what others have to say to us – and only if we are able to give coherent answers to them, will we be able to meet the challenges we face: whether it is a pandemic, climate change, or the expected economic and social upheaval.
The commandments of the hour are as follows: Interaction, solidarity, togetherness. Even though we are well advised to keep our physical distance, we must now change our mindset to solidarity and community.
The age of selfishness is over. The age of solidarity must now begin.