Thursday, February 9, 2023

Heinz Bude, sociologist: “Today we are lonely individuals and if we are not open to others, we will fail”

Heinz Bude (Wuppertal, Germany, 1954) is one of the most influential sociologists of our time. A student of generational issues and an expert on the 1968 era, Professor of Macrosociology at the University of Kassel is a contemporary diagnostician who explores how economic conditions affect the collective psyche. More recently he has studied the ills of Western society and their possible solutions. public fear society (Herder, 2017), where he said that everything scares us: facing life from the personality (abandoned by the states), the loss of important opportunities, the failure to meet the expectations of others, who become enemies.. In 2019 he published Solidarity: the future of a great idea (Solidarity: the future of a great idea, without translation into Spanish), where he explores what he maintains should be our response. However, he now believes that we have entered the phase of losers. “We all lose,” he maintains.

Bud enjoys a prime location in his apartment in Berlin: on the outskirts of the city (a few minutes from the center by tram), near a lake, surrounded by trees and a garden with at least ten kinds of flowers. garden (all open, surprisingly) and in which the kids share a sandbox. Bud has arranged cookies on the living room table. We speak (in English, that with a strong German accent) and the autumn forest slips by the large windows.

Question. Ever since he wrote his book, the fear grows and grows.

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Give reply. The last three decades of neoliberalism have been the phase of life’s opportunities. Then many began to wonder if they were missing something. In love, at work, even on vacation, there’s always one question: Is this enough for me? Am I able to take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to me? But we are not at that stage now. We have entered the loser. we all lost

P. Purchasing power of course.

R, Now the question is how do I survive in these new circumstances? We are also in the era of ideological deficit. Many no longer understand the world. It revolves around the war in Europe. Let’s think about imperialism: we have the Anglo-Americans, but also the Russians and the Chinese. very different from each other. And it confuses us. What will Europe be like when the war in Ukraine ends?

> What do German politicians say about this?

R. nobody knows. Here we have not done a good job on foreign policy. We don’t have Henry Kissinger pondering our ever-changing, multi-sector world. Is a united Europe possible? Europe, is it only Western Europe? Should we open our borders to Turkey or Russia? Maybe in 20 years Russia will be part of Europe.

Q. Hmm… tough.

R. There were two opposing systems in the Cold War: socialist or communist and capitalist. But Russia now has extreme capitalism, so the current war is for nothing. It is a proxy war. Nothing ideological supports it. What this war shows is that Russia has definitely lost the Cold War.

> Were you not aware of this?

R. Many people believe that he won World War II. Now they have to imagine that it was all for nothing. Russia is no longer better than Germany. Only power drives it.

Q. We talk about loss… and what supports us? Something will happen.

R. This was family during the pandemic. 40-year-olds have realized their hugely important obligations and see that they can face them. But family also causes suffering. Gender issues that face its members, eg. Young people believe in family but do not see themselves as capable of affirming it. They don’t want to brand themselves as conservative. They lack the terms and ideas to explain the situation.

> We are in a time of many changes, aren’t we?

R. Yes, it is a platform full of ambiguities, we lack orientation. This is evident in Germany. The hare is growing up a lot, it is the only party that is learning. But in the process of learning it is giving up its ideological core. Now they are thinking about the gas that comes to us in ships from America… This green realism is a way of losing ground at the same time. And in 20 years you can find ideological lag. Learning can have a price.

Q. How have Merkel’s mistakes in her energy deals with Russia been perceived in Germany?

R. Not long ago we would have said that she was a great statesman. But now they are becoming characters of failure. The 1989 crisis brought some incredibly good years for the Germans, even for the people of Paradise. They are eliminated in the last 10.

Q. For Germany and for a good part of the West.

R. Perhaps more so in Germany than in other countries. The mandate asks itself, do we have the strength to face what is yet to come? Can we pull the cart like before? If we falter then who?

Q. Who?

R. Macron tries to do it. He sees this as an opportunity to become a historical figure. He has practically four years to achieve this. He sees himself with the potential to open up new opportunities for Europe. I don’t see any other leader who can go with him. Scholz is trying to help Germany prudently. What do you want for the future of Europe? Maybe he doesn’t even know himself. There is no strategy in his politics. Roosevelt said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I don’t see anyone in Germany with the strength to confirm this.

Q. Don’t you think there are people who tell themselves so, who reject fear?

R. Of course we should because fear leads to impotence. At a time when everything revolves around the individual power of each. We only gain power when we do it with others: solidarity. But it is a must see for each of us. We Germans? We Berliners? Are we anti-capitalist? The idea of ​​”we” is also in trouble, but we need a we.

Q. Where should we look for it?

R. It stems from the experience of loneliness. Today we are lonely individuals and if we do not open up to other people, we will fail.

> But this idea comes with age.

R. Yeah, and Millennials are old enough to see it, they can’t live on their own. We depend on others. It is not a source of fear but of solidarity. This idea can be told to many but politicians fail to do so. European politicians lack existentialism. What’s more: they’re afraid of it and they’re wrong.

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