Shaping society constructively

Shaping society constructively

31 March 2021 Sebastian Jüngel 2752 views

Human societies are undergoing complex transformation processes: At present, the climate crisis, the search for appropriate forms of coexistence, the status of the individual and digitalisation are all drawing attention to issues of relationship.

“Hitherto unknown phenomena and consequences are coming to light that are massively limiting and shaping our lives through the measures to contain the Corona pandemic”, said Christiane Haid, Head of the Sections for Visual Arts and Literary Arts and Humanities at the Goetheanum. “We should not remain at this point. We can take responsibility for shaping the future in a constructive way”.

Dealing with social upheaval manifests in typical behaviours such as denial, resentment and withdrawal, and depression. Work needs to be done for life after the crisis, but the tasks are complex. “It will need networked thinking based on multidisciplinary collaboration. This requires a dialogue-based approach”, says Ueli Hurter, co-leader of the Section for Agriculture and Executive Council member at the Goetheanum. Christiane Haid and Ueli Hurter, together with the Goetheanum leadership, are convinced that the current crises can be proactively addressed – through transdisciplinary collaboration and in dialogue with experts who will be invited to the Goetheanum.

Upheavals are expressions of disturbed relationships, both between people and vis-à-vis nature and the cosmos. For example, the climate crisis drew attention to the relationship between the earth and the sun. If our gaze is directed exclusively upwards into the atmosphere, then our attention to what lies below will be lost, where in and on the earth, there is a contributing factor to the climate: forests as green lungs and earth which capture carbon dioxide.

Algorithms that use data and models to make predictions about the future are often used to design scenarios to help us emerge from the crisis. This principle of the digital world is powerful and predicts the future based upon existing processes or from the assumption that these are all patterns. The search for ideas that reshape the future must come from somewhere else. For example, when humans admit to being more than just biological systems – and of also being creative and capable of inspiration. One consequence of this may be an education that develops knowledge and skills in such a way that unexpected challenges can be approached creatively. In this sense, culture is systemically relevant.

Event Series (German, English) Life and Society in Transition, Mondays, 8 p.m. (CEST Dornach), 12 April 2021 to 28 June 2021, free admission
Web (English version: coming)

Foto: Xue Li