Not just because of the pandemic, 2020 will be a year we will remember for a long time.Through this article we do not intend to recall events or open perspectives.
The pandemic has made pre-existing problems more evident both nationally and internationally. I focus this reflection on a few points, inviting everyone to join a global debate on the “knots” that characterize our historical time. For this reason, we of The Science of Where Magazine think it is crucial to work with think tanks: today more than ever a complex and transdisciplinary mentality is required.
The key words of this contribution are: inequalities, innovation, technology, cities, climate change, conflicts, human society.
INEQUALITIES: THE TRAUMA OF OUR TIME
Access to life seems like a privileged issue. There is at stake, and we see it every day, a gap that is no longer sustainable, within States and globally, between those who can afford their lives and those who cannot live this “luxury” fully. All this fits into a broader framework: the de-generative crisis of liberal democracies and of the order we imagined and built after the tragedies of the Second World War and of the totalitarianisms.
Inequalities (in all areas of coexistence) increase, and the pandemic aggravates them, where democratic institutions and the liberal conception of the economy (in a capitalism that does not problematize its own mechanisms but that “colors” itself with ethics by defining itself ” sustainable “) are no longer able to respond to the needs of citizens and lose their meaning: it is through inequalities that twentieth-century politics dies, no longer able to govern complex and, increasingly often, unpredictable phenomena.
INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY BELONG TO US
Technology comes from man and must serve man. In this synthesis there is an evolving thought on the frontiers of technological innovation, a man’s talent that risks going against him. Either technology is at the service of an integral humanism or it becomes extremely dangerous for the survival of man himself. During the pandemic we have seen the use of “good” technologies both in terms of health and monitoring needs and with respect to smart working and e-learning practices. We know, however, that many technologies present great risks: the time has come for an extraordinary cultural investment to define, all together, global rules capable of placing technology and human development at the center of our lives.
Innovation is naturally in us: man, in fact, is called to re-create what is created and to keep it, improving it through technologies.
Work in cities, which are at the same time local places and strategic subjects, is of innovation to improve services and to attract investments and is cultural to promote proximity and human development. The lockdowns and the restrictive measures have made us understand the importance of sociality and all that living together, sharing, entails. If the pandemic has suspended us, the restart must be re-thought in the context of technologically advanced and humanly sustainable cities.
In the city we mediate the differences, a characteristic now ineduble in the interconnected world, we live the hybridization, we build together the beyond starting from the sharing of a founding nucleus that does not die, the “common good” (cultural and political reason for “being together “).
CLIMATE AND CONFLICTS DO NOT WAIT (US)
Political decisions always come after the phenomena have happened. There is no trace of strategic vision and this is evident, at the same time, in the de-generative crisis of liberal democracies (prisoners of power relations and with institutions unable to grasp, welcome and govern the flexibility in the change of era in progress) and in the “refuge” in autarchic systems that would like to close off and completely determine themselves.
Climate change, like the pandemic, transcends borders and makes the global level of challenges and problems “sovereign”: if we do not understand this, by reversing our approach, we risk being subject to history and not subjects of history.
We live in a world of conflicts. These are situations rendered insoluble by attitudes in which strategic interests prevailed and continue to prevail and in which the interest of peoples has been denied, and continues to be denied. The list of such conflicts is long, as is that of the walls.
Politics must question its inability to have visions: mediation, however important but rather practiced as compromise, is no longer enough.
The questions we ask ourselves are: who are we and who are we becoming?
As we have tried to argue, the “faults” of the pandemic concern the aggravation of existing problems.
We are a society that seems to have substituted competition for solidarity, distance for proximity, ethnic purity for the inevitable hybridisation. As we have had occasion to write, our third millennium societies are not immune from totalitarian danger. Here we do not evoke possible returns of twentieth-century totalitarian forms but we underline how that danger belongs to us and lives constantly in and among us.
Who writes is passionate about technologies in a more human society. We all have the responsibility to re-think who we are and who we are becoming: we must do it with realism and vision, re-imagining the limits that must accompany us (mediation) and never forgetting that the basis of innovation is always tradition.