Inventing a new tomorrow

The world is changing. Regardless, we need to come up with new and more sustainable ways to live our lives and prioritize our resources.

Christian Estrup cover image Christian Estrup cover image
Christian Estrup profile image Christian Estrup

Acoustic days in the sign of the corona

Remarkable March days, one must say. Everything has changed and nothing has changed. The world is confusingly similar to itself, but everyday life is suddenly fundamentally different. It's timely to pull the plug—no question—and in many ways a healthy exercise.

Acoustic days in the sign of the corona

Mamma Mia! Imagine that the corona suddenly forces us to pull the plug and stay home with our children! Who knows . . . What may feel like a punishment to some may actually be a gift?

Let's seize the opportunity and practice just being.

Not that we all have to go back to a new stone age. The microprocessor is like invented. Where malicious viruses take days and weeks, images and language—narratives, and therefore realities—can be cross-pollinated and spread across the planet in a split second.

None of us strictly need all kinds of other stimuli when the only thing that counts is the time with our near and dear ones: brilliant to spend a number of weekdays scribbling around the neighborhood and practicing seeing things with the young children's open and naive eyes.

Few things can hit you straight in the heart and put your habits and choices into perspective, like obvious, unspoken questions from small children. It's not at all easy to explain why dad is always so damn busy and can't just sit down and be. (The economy!—yes, yes—but none of us need basically half of the things we spend a large portion of our waking hours at work to finance).

There's a reason style and status are almost impossible to explain to a two-year-old.

Strictly speaking, there is nothing in the way of borrowing, or buying something old and used. A car is a means of transport—not a lifestyle marker—and it really is much cooler to walk or cycle, feel your cheeks burn and sense the world immediately and without a filter. The swing under the chestnut tree always trumps the battery toy, which—as one of our friends so aptly says—is built to play with itself.

Of course we have to go out under the open sky and feel nature on our own bodies.

Of course, we must help ourselves to stop and stare in wonder, dig in the sand, splash in the puddles, pick up the stones, taste the plants, and name what we meet and experience along the way.

Of course, we should be able to leave the watch and mobile at home and stop allowing ourselves to be distracted from what really matters.

It is basically absurd that we most often move around in our physical reality with our senses and attention locked in a small glass block that can miraculously cancel both time and space. As if it were a punishment to be present where we actually are. The fact that it is close to impossible to keep your fingers off your mobile phone is not just a daily annoyance, but fucking scary. Highly gifted homo sapiens have really designed that crap to hit us where we are most vulnerable.

Not that we all have to go back to a new stone age. The microprocessor is like invented. Where malicious viruses take days and weeks, images and language—narratives, and therefore realities—can be cross-pollinated and spread across the planet in a split second.

But streamlining rhymes with stress and sick modernity, while both the world and our ancient genes scream for space and presence. If we use the corona as a necessary pause for thought and stop for a moment and see it all in a bigger perspective, we could perhaps (Thatcher notwithstanding) come up with an alternative to the hamster wheel and the drugged financial economy.

If you ask me, the goal must be a life and a culture where we are not everywhere else, but are present where we are. An existence that largely mimics the humble life our ancestors lived over thousands of years; hands-on.

Real wealth is having the ability and foresight to say no. We can learn from the people of nature, and get back in sync with the life that flows through us and the nature we are surrounded by. It does something good for a person to know his place in the world and to feel the raw forces of nature and the change of seasons on his own body.

It is of course no simple exercise to recreate something resembling a natural habitat for all seven billion sapiens on the planet. Stone Age diet, winter bathing and barefoot running do not do it alone, and are mostly symbolic actions—albeit with the potential to inspire others and be the last straw that starts the avalanche.

In that context, let's just take the corona as an obvious opportunity to change our habits and get the focus shifted from numbers and abstract mathematical models to our real, shared, physical world.

There is no need to pad ourselves with jet bridges and temperate air, so we have to check the phone to know what the weather is really like. No need to let us pace ourselves to the next gate with gadgets and rolling sidewalks, when what makes it all worth it is the adventure and unpredictability along the way.

Let's just treat ourselves to an acoustic day or three—have a corona break—and take the time to immerse ourselves a little in life in the meantime. In the end, there is no advantage in being the first to finish that life anyway.

Christian Estrup profile image Christian Estrup