After receiving very positive feedback on our blog contributions in the last years, we would like to continue this still young tradition of the Liechtenstein Academy Blog also this year.
Also in 2020, it is important for us to consider very different perspectives in order to offer you the most stimulating possible offer. This year, we have been able to attract six well-known guest authors, who, with no editorial filters, write about their personal thoughts. Look forward to new and surprising insights from Michael Bursik, complex issues, simply explained by Ulrich Schnabel, philosophical insights from Dr. Ina Schmidt, astute thoughts by our language and legal expert Carlos A. Gebauer, exciting topics around the many topics of working in the digital era by Sibylle Mäder as well as constructive considerations of our health expert Christoph von Oldershausen.
We wish you a stimulating read.
Your Liechtenstein Academy team
The new normal. But: What is normal?
These are turbulent times in which we are living. Much of what seemed to be taken for granted has been shaken, needs to be reviewed and realigned. Thus, as is so often the case, the crisis is an ambivalent state that destroys some things and makes others possible – but in any case creates uncertainty that forces us to live in the open. This challenge is by no means new or unique. Man is a searching being, a creative designer of constantly changing living conditions, during catastrophes and crises as well as during peaceful times. But even if the human being is a «searching» being, who always makes himself a subject of discussion, who changes through his own experiences, we need a framework in which we can develop a feeling of security and stability, in order to be able to relate the possibly necessary new to what we know or want to reclaim. Then and only then can we achieve what we call «development», «maturation» or even qualitative growth. Only then can we work out the appropriate rhythm with which we are able to counter the hectic and actionist desire for solutions and quick answers, even if it means taking a slower step. In this way, we can succeed in not regaining the old, but in designing what we have yet to create as a new normality on a new path.
Normality is what we have good reason to expect
A good life needs a form of normality that is not constantly volatile, which we «may expect with good reason». No lofty ideals, no perfectionist illusions or utopias, but a basic foundation that provides us with a framework for enabling action, invention and doing. That is what we want to find in order to achieve what is not yet there. This form of normality provides something very fundamental: It reduces complexity and makes it possible to deal with vitality. It starts with simple social manners – that way we know what to expect when we are invited to a dinner party or how to behave in an interview, we know not to jump the cinema queue and not to lie to our friends. But how do we recognize what is «normal» when normality is no longer to be found as usual? When these very foundations are shaken or suspended? Then the normal becomes the exception, the special. There are times when the preciousness of the normal becomes apparent in all clarity, as that which we painfully miss, that which we long for, because it was then anything but the self-evident framework from which we were allowed to build upon.
Normality needs external and internal norms
The Corona crisis of the last few months shows us that we are not only capable of thinking in terms of innovation, disruption and agility in order to create new futures, but also, in times of upheaval, to search the bottom of the barrel, to find new parameters and conditions that must provide necessary conditions as a starting point for development and maturation. What can emerge is «new» and yet in search of what we know – a synthesis of habits in which we can settle down and at the same time adjust to new conditions. This art of a «new normal» is also, but not only, dependent on clear rules and regulatory measures, as well as an inner attitude of each individual. An attitude with which we are prepared to seek the «right measure», to engage with restrictions, to simultaneously examine them vigilantly, to take a step into the unknown, to find out whether the ground under us is supportive and thus in a «contingent» process – to engage with what is.
This may seem anything but «normal», but it is a way of dealing with liveliness and change that can not only help us to stand on solid ground again in times of crisis and states of emergency, but also to break new ground in this process, which does not depend on knowing one's goal at the beginning. In the best case, this can become a basic attitude that will be much more normal in the future after the crisis than we can imagine today.
Written by: Dr. Ina Schmidt