Why pessimism is our greatest opportunity now


No time right now?

Hold on a little longer and everything will be as it was before. This is the message from politics to society and the economy. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is hardly the truth. So put an end to the paralysis and get into brainstorming!

Those who like to assume the worst have been confirmed again these days: Once again the lockdown will be extended and once again there are understandable reasons and slightly less understandable plans. The latest decisions are part of a long series of perseverance slogans that have been heard since autumn 2020 at the latest: “Stay at home in November and there will be a normal Christmas!”; “Stay at home all December, everything will be better next year, because then we will be vaccinated”; “Stay at home in January and February because …”: Everyone knows the game by now. The fact that hopes for a quick improvement due to a large-scale vaccination strategy have recently fizzled out should have been an unexpected blow for many. A real perspective looks different.

It is slowly becoming clear: it is not enough to hold still long enough for the virus danger to literally vanish into thin air. Pessimism is appropriate because: in view of mutants and global vaccine shortages, can anyone really say with certainty that there is a return to normality? If not, the key question is how we deal with it.

Pessimism or Liberation?

That Corona could be with us for a long time, maybe even forever, may sound deeply pessimistic. There are certainly better prospects. However, to consider this possibility as a not unlikely future variant and to make it the new basis for discussion can also have a liberating effect. Because it sharpens our view and strengthens the willingness to innovate.

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Before the outcry comes: That does not mean that we should uncritically walk into a permanent restriction of fundamental rights or negligently let the infection numbers soar! It is not a question of adding up the protection of human life against economic success, but of finding out how both can be achieved at the same time. We need space for new concepts that will enable companies to earn money and pay taxes and wages even in a corona future without simultaneously driving up the number of infections. We also finally need fresh concepts for leisure activities and cultural sites so that people can pursue their interests, network and relax.

Open or closed? Changed!

The point is not whether a lockdown extension is justified; after all, the relevant expert opinions clearly support it. The point is, after a year of pandemic, this paralysis must finally be overcome. The vague hope in our old life, which experiences setbacks again and again, may help many, but it also paralyzes us.

New ideas must be heard and receive every possible support. It starts with the fact that there have to be other solutions between closing and opening shops, fitness studios and cultural institutions. Digital reservations and booking systems that can precisely track and control the occupancy of the respective offer are only the most obvious step, which in many places was either not thought of or was simply prohibited.

Click & Collect has proven to be a successful model, but it is by no means offered everywhere where it would be possible, or in some cases prohibited again. Air filters in schools seem to be a technical solution to make lessons possible even in Corona times, but are not purchased. Many companies do not adhere to the new home office requirements or are just waiting to finally be able to return to mandatory attendance. This list goes on and on. It affects politics and the economy, but also the behavior of every individual. The approach is based everywhere on the assumption that this is only a temporary crisis and not a fundamental change in our coexistence.

Assume the worst

For those who consider this assumption at least questionable, it is more than astonishing: Why are we not currently doing everything we can to learn what a world with Corona can look like that does not stand still completely? We can only think forwards if we face the situation in all its facets. So we are prepared for low blows and less dependent on perseverance. Those who like to assume the worst currently have a big advantage: They can start and make the best of it!

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