Encouragement: The world after Corona

I (Matthias Horx / www.horx.com) are currently often asked when Corona “will be over” and everything will return to normal. My answer: never. There are historical moments when the future changes direction. We call them bifurcations. Or deep crises. These times are now. I (Matthias Horx / www.horx.com) are currently often asked when Corona “will be over” and everything will return to normal. My answer: never. There are historical moments when the future changes direction. We call them bifurcations. Or deep crises. These times are now.
The world as we know it is dissolving. But behind it comes a new world, the formation of which we can at least imagine. I would like to offer you an exercise for this. We call them the BACKcast. In contrast to the FOREcast, we don’t look into the future with this technology. But from the future BACK to today. Let us imagine a situation in autumn 2020. Looking back, what will we be surprised about?
We will be surprised that the social sacrifices that we had to make rarely lead to isolation. On the contrary. After an initial shock of shock, many of them were even relieved that all the racing, talking, communicating on multichannels suddenly came to a halt. Waiver does not necessarily mean loss, but can even open up new possibilities.
We contacted old friends more often, strengthened ties that had become loose and loose. Families, neighbors, friends have moved closer. The social courtesy that we increasingly missed before increased. We will be amazed at how quickly digital cultural techniques have suddenly proven themselves in practice. Teleconferencing and video conferencing, which most colleagues had always resisted, turned out to be quite practical and productive. Teachers learned a lot about internet teaching. The home office became a matter of course for many. People who never came to rest due to the hectic pace, including young people, suddenly went for long walks.
Crises work primarily by dissolving old phenomena, making them superfluous …
We will be surprised to find that drugs have been found that increase survival. That corona became a virus that we just have to deal with – much like the flu and many other diseases. Medical progress helped.
The decisive factor was that people could remain solidary and constructive despite radical restrictions. Human-social intelligence has helped. The much-touted Artificial Intelligence, on the other hand, has only had a limited effect on Corona. This has shifted the relationship between technology and culture. Before the crisis, technology seemed to be the panacea. No one believes in great digital redemption today. The great technology hype is over.
We are astonished how much humor and humanity actually emerged in the days of the virus. We will be surprised at how far the economy could shrink without something like “collapse” actually happening. But global just-in-time production is over. It is currently being dismantled and reconfigured. The global system is drifting towards something like localization of the global.
We will be surprised that even the loss of assets due to the stock market crash does not hurt as it felt at the beginning. In the new world, wealth suddenly no longer plays the decisive role. Good neighbors and a blossoming vegetable garden are more important. Could it be that the virus has changed our lives in a direction that it wanted to change anyway?
Why does this type of “from the front” look so irritatingly different than a classic forecast? This is related to the specific properties of our future sense. When we look “into the future”, we mostly only see the dangers and problems “coming towards us” that pile up to insurmountable barriers. This fear barrier separates us from the future. On the other hand, backcasts form a loop of knowledge in which we include ourselves, our inner change, in the future calculation. We connect internally with the future, and this creates a bridge between today and tomorrow. A “future mind” is created.
If you do it right, something like future intelligence is created. We are able to anticipate not only the external »events«, but also the internal adaptations with which we react to a changed world. We leave the stiffness of fear and return to the vitality that belongs to every true future.
The feeling of successfully overcoming fear, the feeling of coping. Coping means: Neurobiologically, fear adrenaline is replaced by dopamine, a type of endogenous drug for the future. While adrenaline leads us to flee or fight, dopamine opens our brain synapses: we are excited about what is to come, curious, foresighted. When we have a healthy dopamine level, we make plans, we have visions that lead us to the forward-looking action.
So it turns out: Change begins as a changed pattern of expectations, perceptions and world connections. Sometimes it is precisely the break with the routines, the familiar, that releases our sense of the future again. The idea and certainty that everything could be completely different – even in the better.
Maybe the virus was just a messenger from the future. His drastic message is: Human civilization has become too dense, too fast, overheated. It is racing too much in a certain direction in which there is no future.
But it can reinvent itself. System reset. Cool down! This is how the future works.