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Polyplurimetacrisis – where’s your brake?

Yesterday it had cooled down perfectly after the heat wave – I was finally able to walk the dog again during the day. On the field path, a majestic creature suddenly sailed above us, its calls reaching from afar. A red kite, one of the most wonderful birds of prey in our latitudes, with a wingspan of around 1.60 m. As the wonderful bird made its rounds quite low overhead, I imagined how accurately it must recognise us, seeing also mice and even beetles that it hunts. With the horizon on all sides and a clear view even of the Black Forest far across the border, I suddenly dwindled. A little fatter than a mouse, certainly, but weren’t we humans also crawling over the earth like beetles?

The red kite called again and now performed aerial manoeuvres that seemed like joy. A female had joined him. The two dropped, soared, and circled. What was happening on earth seemed unimportant. Together they rose so high that they were almost out of sight. That walking human down there was just a tiny scurrying creature. Would be replaced by other fuzzy creatures. Was infinitesimal, unimportant. It is a feeling that can also take hold of you on mountain tops or at night when you lie under the starry sky and look up. The German word Ergriffenheit means being overcome or deeply moved by emotions, it contains a hint of something sacred, a primal experience. The miniature sibling of this emotion often carries the hashtag #AWE on social media.

There’s another feeling of smallness. You get it most effectively when reading trends on social media or live tickers on the news. A terrible catastrophe happened here and a new problem came out there. Almost insoluble crises are followed by other crises, suddenly a dictator triggers another one or a natural disaster devastates a region. You no longer fly with birds or stars. You feel more like a stone that its heaviness is ramming deep into the mud. Some days I want to yell out loud: Polyplurimetacrisis, troll away! How to find the brake?

Feeling Small

You can see, both feelings to be small are extremely different. That feeling in nature puts us into the appropriate perspective, from anthropocentrism and human hubris to normal size. It fills us with a wonderful feeling of happiness and above all: we are active. By trying to put me in the bird’s umwelt and communicating with it, I perceive it as a partner, at eye level. But above all, I act.

Read more in my blog. There you can also listen to this text! (Opens in a new window)

Learn about two famous role models: The two grand dames Jane Godall and Margaret Atwood get to the heart of what makes our time and threatens to paralyse us at the same time - and they show how to get hope. (Opens in a new window)

Topic TurningPoint Reflections


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