The utopian force of the Lockdown


Way out of climate catastrophe – The utopian force of the lock-down, the Coronavirus can contribute to the salvation of the world? The well-known American Science Fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson and his hope that together we can stop climate change.Christoph Heim2 Kommentare2Düstere future: New York under water.Photo: Michael Any ()

“Super Venice” is called Kim Stanley Robinson the borough of Manhattan, in his last novel, “New York 2140”. He paints how life is like in a big city feels when the streets are permanently under water. The residents have moved into the upper floors of the skyscraper back. Between the buildings, the ships operate, such as in Venice. The Rich have settled in the Northern part of New York, where new high-rise buildings are created. With climate change, the sea level has risen by an astonishing five to ten meters. That is the game system a dystopia, the extended climatic and societal trends from the present into the future.

Robinson lives in California and has been in the 1990s, with his Mars trilogy is famous for. In it, he discusses the huge technical, environmental and social challenges of a colonization of Mars by humanity. In his novel “Aurora”, published 2015, los he sends a space ship that is filled with 2000 people. You want to colonize a light years distant planet. The trip lasts too long, as the people and the technology they could hold out. And so a Swan song to the longing of the people to a new planet whose resources have not yet been consumed, a new start will be from the Science-Fiction novel.

Recently, Robinson devoted himself in an Essay with the title “the Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations” in the magazine “the New Yorker” the phenomenon of the Lockdown, with the Wuhan via Zurich to New York is trying the Corona of a pandemic to contain. The initial situation: The Coronavirus has the world shaken up and it still does. It has emptied the streets. It has isolated the people. It has brought a distance in the society. The distance is, to speak with Michel Houellebecq, not so new, but has been prepared by electronic means of communication for at least a Generation.

The Lockdown as a Premiere

For Robinson, the Lockdown is a first. With her we enter a new era, in the disasters to the normal case. In the future, increasingly similar to the response required pattern, as it is now in the Corona of a pandemic. Whether it is pandemics, or environmental disasters, we will have to fight for the Survival of our societies. But with a cohesive defense, so Robinson, we should be able to, if all goes well, the disastrous events of the face.

Catastrophic events, whether climate or disease due to, be the view of Robinson is our life in the 21st century. Century in the shorter shape intervals.

Recently, the author has completed his newest book, which will appear next fall, under the title “The Ministry of the Future”. In it, he describes some event in the distant future, but deals incisively with the changes in our environment that are to be expected in the next thirty years. He introduces himself as famine, species extinction, heat waves, and the collapse of infrastructures life-threatening. Especially dangerous is the combination of several Disaster. Among other things, could not be expect in the near future, heat waves, where you can survive without air conditioning. But what happens, then, when the power supply drops out?

but What happens, then, when the power supply drops out? Air-conditioning systems on a building in “Little India” of Singapore. Photo: Ed Wray (Keystone/AP Photo)

Countless Dead would be counted. Panic reactions were foreseeable. Will be marauding gangs of the cooling to conquer space, or there will be a solidarity-based response that ensures as many people as possible Survive this? These and similar more or less catastrophic events, be they due to climate or disease, are, in the view of Robinson is our life in the 21st century. Century in the shorter shape intervals.

Altered sensation structures

If you take the reaction to Covid-19 as a blueprint, then you can expect that people will also be for other disasters under the guidance of their governments for solidarity capable of. More still: In this sudden and unexpected solidarity, the actual utopian potential that prompted the Robinson his Essay “The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations” is.

also Interesting is the title of the book “The Ministry of the Future”, which provides, instead of a neo-liberal night watchman state with a strong Ministry for the future, do it in the interest of the company all in favour of a new Balance between people and nature, the virtues of rule, and the active, rational collaboration with the population counts. “If certain restrictions by the world community, shall be adopted,” said Robinson in an Interview, “we could Dodge possibly the bad Parts of the future, about which I have written in “the New York 2140” and in my book, “2312”.”

in the Middle of the Lockdown due to the Corona pandemic is now recognizable for Robinson, a radical change in the social patterns of sentiment.

Kim Stanley Robinson, Science Fiction author

the New this social solidarity is to be classified through cultural theory, it refers to the concept of “feeling structures” (“Structure of feelings”), which was developed by Raymond Williams, the pioneer of American Cultural Studies,. Accordingly, each society has a specific way of dealing with themselves and their environment. In the middle of the Lockdown due to the Corona pandemic a radical change in the social patterns of sentiment is now for Robinson recognizable.

After years in which the ideology of neoliberalism in our life, certain advances with the increasing pressure by climate-heating and risk of disease suddenly returns to the society to the centre. Margareth Tatcher, says Robinson, was issued in 1987, the cynical Motto that there is simply no society (“There’s no such thing as society.”). It is wrong, but it is not only social-democratic members of the success with the slogan that social solidarity is the only answer to the crisis.

The tragedy of the horizon

Now, there are, of course, a crucial difference between the disease and the climate heating up: While we may experience the gratification for the social Lockdown, in which we are, in times of plague himself – we stay, if it goes well, healthy, and our members – are the positive effects of a behaviour that protects the environment and the warming of the climate restricts, in a future that our children and children’s children experience. The climate curves suffer from the “tragedy of horizon”, as the statisticians Express, does our current restraint, the day after tomorrow positively.

“What we thought was impossible became possible.”

Still, slumbering in the Corona pandemic, more than a spark of hope. Also in our behavior, which will contribute to the Flattening of the curve, comes a concern for the future. By we operate today, Social Distancing, we can press in the morning, the infection curve and the R-value of 1. This behavior is also in relation to the warming of the climate Benefits? “What we thought was impossible has become possible,” writes Robinson. “In the spring of 2020 has shown us how much and how fast we a civilization can change.”

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