Why is the world changing

The world got it cold. Scientists around the world had long warned against a pandemic scenario like this. At the beginning of 2020 it was suddenly there, real, dangerous and, for many, incredibly scary. Borders were closed, schools and daycare centers closed, people were no longer allowed to meet - on a large or small scale. Cuts were noticeable right into the families, from now on things became necessary that no one previously suspected would be necessary. What does such a crisis do to people? How does it change the way we look at things? Four scientists from the TU Dresden are looking at the consequences of the pandemic.

Studying to listen to: Here is the corona lecture series of the TU Dresden.

Professor Marina Münkler: A global crisis like a pandemic does not only affect the lives of many people. It also has an impact on how we talk about this formative time. Marina Münkler, professor for older and early modern German literature and culture, has been dealing with narrative patterns for a long time. It is particularly noticeable at the moment that conspiracy narratives are gaining more and more supporters in many countries. “One of the reasons for this is certainly that many find it difficult to deal with uncertainty,” says the scientist. Especially in societies that have cooled down religiously, it would have been easy to tell stories about supposed conspiracies in such situations. “They create confidence in those who believe them,” she adds. "They then have the feeling that they see through things." That also creates a sense of community among the supporters, which can currently be seen, for example, in the anti-corona demonstrations. The problem with conspiracy narratives is that they always claim that there is someone to blame. In doing so, anti-Semitic motives would sometimes come to light and gain new virulence. "Anti-Judaist narratives have a long history that goes back to the Middle Ages," explains the scientist. Explaining the functional patterns of such narratives is therefore a central scientific task. And of course it is important to confront such narratives with facts. Facts that natural scientists can provide. “However, it has to be communicated much better how scientific work works,” says the professor. One hundred percent certainty cannot be produced. “Scientists do not represent arbitrary opinions either, but argue based on evidence.” It is precisely this that would be important for the future to bring into society. Together with other researchers at the TU Dresden, she therefore wants to devote herself to the topic. (jam)

Professor Julia Enxing: Corona has proven it. The original transmission of the virus from animals to humans makes it abundantly clear: we share a living space. It is getting closer and closer. “The question is how we as humans relate to our environment,” says Julia Enxing. She is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Institute for Catholic Theology at TU Dresden. "The truth is: the difference between us and other living beings is much smaller than we often think." In the past few months she was often confronted with the question of what role faith and the church play in the crisis. “Personally, I would have definitely wished for a clearer positioning of the church in these times,” she explains. It is also the task of the church to be there for those who are alone or who are in a difficult situation. Such a sign would have been particularly important during the lockdown. “The Christian message says that we should be confident and that the community makes us strong.” The Church in particular could have communicated this much more strongly and filled it with life. Not only believers organized themselves during the crisis, many different aid campaigns were started. “This great solidarity has given society something. I hope that we can draw from this experience even after the pandemic. ”In the past few months, it would have become clear to many for what they are grateful. The view of life would have changed. “We recognize it as something fragile.” But the theologian also thinks about what could remain negative. “Inevitably, we now distance ourselves from our fellow human beings,” she says. “It would be a shame if this distance, this detachment persisted.” We shouldn't perceive others as just a potential risk of contagion. People need each other. "If this thought prevails in the end, it would of course be nice." (Jam)

Professor Anna Holzscheiter: Suddenly Germany is discussing the working conditions in meat factories or the staffing of health departments. People ask why nurses make so little money and why schools are immensely poorly equipped digitally. For Anna Holzscheiter, Professor of Political Science at the TU Dresden, the corona crisis has also brought one thing: a newly awakened interest of citizens in politics, a rediscovered feeling of participation. "This pandemic is certainly a stress test for our society that also shows divisive elements," she says, referring to the corona demos. But there are also many who stick to the measures and face this pandemic together. Looking at the course of the Corona in other countries, many would have realized the value of a democracy. The crisis did not come as a surprise to Anna Holzscheiter. With her focus on international politics, she has been dealing with international health policy for a long time. A pandemic was only a matter of time. The World Health Organization (WHO) reacted quickly at the beginning because it was prepared for such scenarios. Unlike so many countries. "Only a clearer positioning on the role of China on the part of the WHO would have been desirable," she says. The WHO is not an authority, but a highly political organization. It would depend on how its members behave, how committed they are to health policy. The scientist hopes that it is precisely in this respect that some things will change for the better in the future. Many consider it worrying that the USA is now turning away from the WHO. “I think we will see that it works without the USA.” In general, power relations and alliances are currently changing. Many states are withdrawing inward, which is also aided by the border closings in the pandemic. At the same time, new collaborations arise. “This development already existed before Corona. But the crisis increases the pace. "(Jam)

Professor Markus Tiedemann: Who should be saved - and who shouldn't? What does a human life count? How can health protection, economic appreciation and personal freedom rights be weighed up against each other? Questions like these arose as the world got into pandemic mode. Markus Tiedemann, Professor of Philosophy Didactics and Ethics at TU Dresden, sees ethical challenges on at least two levels. On the one hand, there are individual questions such as triage. When ventilators became scarce in hospitals in Northern Italy, doctors had to make tough decisions: Who will get the life-saving technology? Triage is the technical term for this situation in which the number of patients and the available resources make a staggered selection necessary. A classification with often fatal consequences. "At the moment we are leaving the medical profession alone with this question." The discussion that has already reached the German Ethics Council must be swiftly translated into legislation. The second level is the development of society as a whole. It is still too early to say what consequences the corona crisis has for society, explains Tiedemann. Renewal or destruction, both are possible “Perhaps a time begins in which we finally lose ourselves in extremes, the social discourse continues to polarize and democracy finally fails. Perhaps we are also at the beginning of a restoration in which we realize that quality of life is also possible without excessive consumption of resources. ”A return of appreciation for scientific expertise and rational decisions can be observed. The majority of society has so far behaved very rationally and cleverly. Anyone who would compare how the crisis is being dealt with in other parts of the world could be grateful to live in Germany. "And for the fact that we can all together finance an excellently functioning health system." We should learn from this pandemic for the future. The world population is growing, living space is becoming scarcer. "We have to expect something like this to happen again." (Jam)

Here you get to the scientific world of the Technical University of Dresden.